Fate of former governor McDonnell now in jury's hands - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports


Fate of former governor McDonnell now in jury's hands

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File photo shows former governor Bob McDonnell outside the Federal Courthouse in Richmond (Source: NBC12) File photo shows former governor Bob McDonnell outside the Federal Courthouse in Richmond (Source: NBC12)

The waiting game has begun.

After five weeks of testimony and arguments, the jury in the corruption trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell are deliberating.

This is the most important stage of the trial.. but today has been pretty uneventful.
We are all just sitting and waiting. Waiting on perhaps the most important verdict in Virginia political history.

U.S. District Judge James Spencer spent the morning instructing the jury of seven men and five women. He told jurors they could find Maureen McDonnell guilty of conspiracy, even if the former governor is not found culpable.

Prosecutors charge the former first couple gave special favors to former Star Scientific, Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts and loans. Williams testified he was trying to get help promoting Anatabloc, a tobacco derived supplement.

Gov. McDonnell testified he never afforded Williams anything out of the ordinary.

For the McDonnells today started like every other day of this marathon trial.

The former Governor walked down the sidewalk into the courthouse.

His wife followed not long after.

But what happened inside is the start of the most important vote in McDonnell's long history of politics. He only needs 12 votes but he needs them all.

"I have complete confidence in God, he is the ultimate judge in this case. I have confidence in this jury."

The day started with Judge Spencer leading long list of instructions to the jury. It is the only set of instructions they will receive and it will guide their deliberations. Because they are so important both sides haggled over every word right up until the moment the jury entered the courtroom.

The list was daunting. It took Judge Spencer nearly two hours to get through the entire list and he even gave the jury a 15 minute break in between.

Right after the clock struck high noon at the court house, the jury's work started.

Work Bob McDonnell has handed off to a higher power.

"I have just always rested in divine providence and God has seen me through many, many tough times in my life before, I think this is just one more," McDonnell said.

And with no indication when the jury will return a verdict, there will be plenty of time for the former Governor to pray for a full acquittal.

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