After more than two days detailing deceptions and secrets kept by former First Lady Maureen McDonnell, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said late Friday he does not blame his wife for the soap opera drama that has captivated the Commonwealth and much of the country.
“Do you blame your wife?” asked McDonnell defense attorney Hank Asbill. “No, I don’t blame my wife,” answered McDonnell.
“Do you blame yourself?” Asbill continued. “I hold myself accountable,” McDonnell said. “I got my life out of balance.”
Moments earlier, Asbill asked if the former governor committed any crime while in office, or promised anything to businessman Jonnie Williams on paper, through talking, a nod or a wink.
“No I did not,” McDonnell answered to both questions. “I misjudged Jonnie Williams. I thought he was a true friend.”
McDonnell added that no gift was worth tarnishing 38 years of public service, saying “I know in my heart” he had not committed a crime, or deliberately misled the FBI, State Police and federal prosecutors about his relationship with Williams.
The exchange came at the close of direct examination from McDonnell’s attorney, capping a day when McDonnell continued to insist he and his wife were living largely separate lives during his time in office.
McDonnell said his wife kept the move secret for nearly a year, and planned to give their children the stock as Christmas presents.
“I was pretty upset with her,” McDonnell said. “I just felt this was another time she didn’t tell me what she was doing.”
The former governor also took time to explain why he went on expensive trips provided by Williams. McDonnell said he did not see them as fancy getaways, but rare opportunities to spend time with his family.
“It meant time with my wife. That’s all I saw.”
When asked if he ever did anything for Williams, McDonnell testified he was only asked to call Williams’ father on his 80th birthday.
“I really hadn’t asked [Jonnie Williams] for anything. My administration hadn’t done anything for him. He was a friend of my wife. I trusted him.”
Curious pieces of information also emerged during the nearly six hours of testimony, including revelations that Maureen McDonnell once worked for the FBI when she was younger. Her father once served as an FBI agent in New York.
The former governor also revealed that he used to take Williams’ dietary supplement, Anatabloc, up to five times a day during the peak of their friendship. The pill has recently been removed from the market.
Lawyers for the former first lady will question Gov. McDonnell Monday morning, when the trial resumes at 9:45 a.m.
Click here for full McDonnells coverage: http://nbc12.com/mcdonnells.