Did the McDonnell story change? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Trial recap Day 12: Did the McDonnell story change?

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A photo entered as evidence shows former governor Bob McDonnell driving Jonnie Williams' Ferrari. (Source: US District Court) A photo entered as evidence shows former governor Bob McDonnell driving Jonnie Williams' Ferrari. (Source: US District Court)

Did the McDonnell's act differently when they learned about an investigation into Jonnie Williams?

That was the important question asked of two different witnesses Tuesday in federal court during Day 12 of the federal corruption trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell.

The jury heard from the state police investigator that launched the probe into the McDonnell- Williams relationship and from Donnie Williams, the brother of the millionaire benefactor. The prosecutor's goal is to establish a pattern of different behavior - perhaps indicating a conspiracy.

As the evidence continues to pileup, the situation with the McDonnells continues to get murkier and at times unseemly.

"It's a sad day for the Commonwealth of Virginia," said former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who spent time on the witness stand Tuesday.

"What I am hearing today is quite concerning," said Mayor Will Sessoms (R-Virginia Beach), who also started his testimony.

Six different witnesses took the stand Tuesday, including Virginia State Police Special Agent Charlie Hagan. He was the first 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.

"I didn't want to cash it," he testified. "I didn't want any part of this mess." 

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 Jonnie 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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