Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are charged with selling political favors in exchange for lavish gifts, trips, and shopping expeditions. Over the past week, jurors have heard scintillating testimony and jaw-dropping allegations from the prosecution’s star witness, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
Everything from a $20,000 New York City shopping spree Williams took Maureen McDonnell on making stops at Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta, and Bergdorf Goodman to a $6,000 Rolex Williams bought for the governor at the request of his wife. So many of the tales are eyebrow raising, but much of it is detailed in the evidence entered in to court, including photographs of the then-first couple of Virginia enjoying Williams’ Ferrari to the personalized engraving on the back of that pricey watch to text messages with the key parties.
Inside the Lavish Life and Broken Marriage That Put Bob McDonnell and His Wife In Court
Here’s a look at key pieces of evidence in the Bob McDonnell trial.
This photo shows former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell with his wife, behind the wheel of Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams’ Ferrari at the businessman’s lake house. Williams testified, according to the Washington Post, that Maureen McDonnell upon seeing his luxury cars told him “it’d just be nice” if one was available to drive when the family vacationed at Williams' vacation home on Smith Mountain Lake. Williams had the car delivered to the home and they ended up driving in the sports car during that trip.
Here’s another photo of McDonnell enjoying Williams’ Ferrari. The McDonnells actually drove Williams' Ferrari back to Richmond after their trip to Williams’ lake house, but McDonnell has said this was a favor to the businessman so he could have it back in the Virginia capital.
Among the lavish gifts from Williams to the McDonnells was a Rolex watch costing more than $6,000. Williams testified the then-first lady said upon seeing Williams’ own Rolex said, “I’d really like to get one of those for the governor. He just wears these old watches.” Williams then said he told Maureen McDonnell, “Do you want me to get one of these watches for the governor?” Williams testified that she answered, “Yes, that would be nice.” In his testimony, Williams has now said, "It was a bad decision on my part to buy that watch when she asked for it…I shouldn't have had to buy things like that to get the help I needed." Maureen McDonnell has said she gave the watch to her husband as a Christmas gift.
This is the back of the Rolex watch Williams’ gave to the McDonnells. It is engraved “Robert F. McDonnell, 71st Governor of Virginia.” On Thursday, the watch was passed to each of the jurors, where they examined it.
This shows a text message from the then-Virginia governor to Williams in May, 2012. In it, it seems as though the governor is asking for money. “Johnnie. Per voicemail would like to see if you could extend another 20k loan for this year,” McDonnell texts, misspelling Williams’ first name.
This is a photograph of the posh Chathams Bar Inn on Cape Cod. This is where Williams testified that he provided a $3,000 bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac when he entertained the McDonnells there over Labor Day weekend in 2012. At the same time he was paying for a luxurious trip to Florida for one of the McDonnell’s daughters and a friend. Williams testified that he flew the McDonnells to the Cape on his private yet and paid for their stay at the tony inn, as well as to play golf at an exclusive country club.
This shows what looks like the governor flashing the much talked about Rolex. Williams said McDonnell texted him the photo in December, 2012. McDonnell has repeatedly said he thought the watch was a Christmas present from his wife, not Williams. The Washington Post reports the government has not been able to determine if the photo was sent from Bob McDonnell’s phone or his wife’s, a crucial detail.