It was a morning full of zings, slinged from the bench, and aimed straight at Bob and Maureen McDonnell's defense team.
Describing an argument made by one of McDonnell's lawyers, Judge James R. Spencer said, "That to me is just dancing through fantasy land.”
Monday saw a legal defeat for the McDonnells, after Judge Spencer ruled that federal prosecutors are not obstructing the defense's investigation.
Below is our full wrap of the morning's events, and what happens in the months ahead.
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In a legal defeat for former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s defense team, a federal judge Tuesday dismissed arguments from the McDonnells’ lawyers, and said prosecutors are not interfering with the defense’s investigation.
“The defense is operating under the assumption that the government is going to do wrong in this instance,” said Judge James R. Spencer. “I do not make that assumption.”
The 20 minute hearing Monday centered on a civil case involving Jonnie Williams, the former Star Scientific CEO who gave more than $165,000 in gifts and loans to the McDonnells.
The civil case is being delayed – a request made by federal prosecutors. Because the case is delayed, McDonnell’s defense said evidence favorable to the former governor is not being discovered.
“This is the government’s attempt to stop the defense from finding evidence,” said defense lawyer James M. Burnham. “There is a longstanding rule that the government is not allowed to interfere in the defense’s investigation.”
Prosecutors said the delay in the civil case prevents the discovery of sensitive evidence, including documents to which the McDonnells are not entitled.
The McDonnell team also argued the government is convincing witnesses not to speak with the defense, a claim Judge Spencer quickly rejected.
“Nobody’s telling anyone they can’t talk to you,” Spencer said. “That to me is just dancing through fantasy land.”
Judge Spencer ultimately denied the McDonnell’s request to limit prosecutors’ involvement in the civil case. He also ordered both sides to meet more frequently to settle disagreements, “for the sanctity of the trees.” The comment refers to the mass quantity of paper used to print a multitude of documents so far.
Two of the McDonnell daughters also joined their parents in federal court, including Cailin McDonnell and her husband, Chris Young. Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams paid $15,000 to cater McDonnell and Young’s wedding.
As he walked out of the Richmond courthouse, Gov. McDonnell wished reporters to have a nice day, and then left in a family car with his wife.
McDonnell’s counsel said they will file a motion to dismiss the entire criminal case on or before March 25. The motion will be heard in May, and the trial by jury is currently set for July 28, 2014.
Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved