McDonnell prosecution to rest Thursday, defense begins next week

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Prosecutors in the McDonnell trial will rest their case Thursday, setting the stage for the defense to begin presenting their case on Monday.

Prosecutors revealed their plan Wednesday morning to wrap up their case on Thursday, though the timeline depends on how long it takes for the remaining prosecution witnesses, including Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, to testify.

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If all goes according to plan, Judge James Spencer plans to give jurors a day off Friday and allow the defense to begin presenting their case next week. Former governor Bob McDonnell could take the stand in his own defense as early as next week.

Several witnesses on Tuesday testified in court during Day 12 of the federal corruption trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell.

Six different witnesses took the stand Tuesday, including Virginia State Police Special Agent Charlie Hagan. He was the first to interview Maureen McDonnell about Jonnie Williams.

Hagan begin looking into the McDonnells after investigating the Executive Mansion's former Chef Todd Schneider. The defense contends he first asked to interview Mrs. McDonnell under the pretense of the Chef case and quickly the conversation turned to the relationship with Williams.

But it's clear that after that interview, the first family changed course.

Later in the day, Jonnie's brother Donnie appeared on the stand. Donnie did chores and home improvement at the McDonnell house close to a dozen different times. Jonnie usually picked up the tab, but after learning of the investigation the then-first lady wanted an invoice and later cut a check. That check was something Donnie didn't want to deal with.

Around the same time, Mrs. McDonnell gave him a box of dresses that were once given to her by Jonnie. She told Donnie to give them to his niece to donate to charity. Prosecutors claim it was her effort to cover her tracks after she learned of the investigation.

Also testifying Tuesday, Doctor George Vetrovec - a researcher and cardiologist from VCU who Williams was attempting to get involved in the research of Anatabloc.

Vetrovec said he once had a meeting scheduled with Williams in the lobby of VCU Medical Center. Williams showed up and told him they were headed to the Governor's Mansion, because the First Lady makes the best cookies.

They then sped off to the mansion in Williams' sports car to find a major event was taking place. Williams was able to drive past the gate and park on the mansion grounds. Inside, Vetrovec quickly learned it was an event featuring director Steven Spielberg. Vetrovec, Williams and Mrs. McDonnell cut the line so the doctor could meet the director.

But despite all of William's efforts, Vetrovec said it never really pushed him to do extensive research on Anatabloc.

There was also a major development Tuesday in the jury pool. One juror was dismissed and we aren't sure why. At the end of the day, Judge James Spencer forcefully reminded the jury that they are not to talk to anyone or read anything about this case, beyond what they hear in the courtroom.

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