McDonnell takes stand in his own defense in corruption trial

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It is a bold-- but risky move.

Attorneys for Bob McDonnell said he would take the stand during their opening arguments.. and that is exactly what happened Wednesday. You could easily argue this was the most important moment in this trial.

He's been promising since day one that he would take the stand and Wednesday Bob McDonnell was ready to take control of this case.

"It is always better to be on offense than defense," he said as he entered the courthouse.

His testimony started late around- 3:20 in the afternoon. At the close of business, it was clear his time on the stand would go on for a while. The former governor went through his work, family and political history in great detail. Telling the story of a man from a middle-class family who rose to the highest level of office in Virginia.

"I've been blessed for 60 years to have a very, very close family and it's a one of the great things God blessed me with," he said.

But as he told that story he emphasized some of the challenges to his family and his marriage.

He said the day after he won the governorship his wife Maureen broke down.

McDonnell testified: "I could tell she was stressed about what was ahead of her as first lady."

He also pointed to his goal of creating jobs and focusing on business development. And the creation of the campaign slogan "Bob's 4 Jobs". Wednesday however was not about the nitty-gritty. That is still to come.

According to Legal Analyst Paul Goldman the former will have to explain his relationship with Jonnie Williams to win over this jury.

"But it is still direct testimony. He'll be brilliant," Goldman pointed out. "The game won't begin until you get to cross examination really."

A job for Bob McDonnell that is still ahead.

They did touch briefly on Jonnie Williams and his company Star Scientific at the end of McDonnell's day on the stand.

He said that he did nothing more than provide "routine" access to government as he would for any company.

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