Former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are accused of accepting thousands of dollars in gifts and loans from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. (Photo: AP)
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
The trial for former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen started Monday. The former first couple and his wife are charged with accepting more than $165,000 worth of loans and gifts from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
McDonnell has denied any wrong-doing. The defense has argued that prosecutors stretched the definition of bribery in this case.
They say things like hosting receptions and arranging meetings with government officials are routine political courtesies.
The former first couple is facing decades in prison if convicted. The trial is expected to last at least five weeks.
On Monday morning, 8News learned that former Executive Mansion Chef Todd Schneider is not featured on the prosecution's witness list.
A legal analyst told 8News that it is not unlikely that potential jurors have formed an opinion on the case. But they'll be asked important questions to make sure they can set those opinions aside and decide the case solely on evidence presented in the trial.
"In a case like this where you have a former governor who's sitting on trial I am as sure as I can be that lawyers on both sides are going to be asking about whether you're a Republican, are you a Democrat," said legal expert Russ Stone. "You know how do you feel about Bob McDonnell, how do you feel about how he did as a governor."
The day started out with a pool of 150 potential jurors, twelve jurors were selected and four alternates. One juror had to be dismissed which has left twelve jurors and three alternates. Trial will resume Tuesday at 10am when jurors will receive instructions and opening statements will be heard
Stay with 8News on air and online for continual updates on the trial.