Twice now Mitt and Ann Romney have been discussed in court in the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen.
McDonnell was once a popular Republican governor and potential Romney running mate leading up to the 2012 presidential election, and the two often campaigned together. Now, McDonnell and his wife are on trial for allegedly accepting $165,000 worth of gifts and loans from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. According to prosecutors, the McDonnells were given Rolex watches, vacations, and designer clothes from Williams, and in exchange they provided help promoting the company’s product.
The Romneys came up in court on Monday when a longtime McDonnell political aide testified that Maureen McDonnell had pitched a Star Scientific drug to Ann Romney in 2012. After failing to get an audience with the presidential candidate, Maureen McDonnell cornered Ann Romney on a campaign bus and suggested that taking the supplement would cure her multiple sclerosis. Phil Cox, the testifying aide, said in court that the pitch reflected badly on the McDonnells.
“I was horrified,’’ Cox testified. “I thought it was a train wreck. I thought it was improper that Maureen would try to push this product on Ann Romney, and I didn’t think it showed the governor in a great light.’’
This is the second time the Romneys have been mentioned thus far in the trial. In opening statements, defense lawyers said that investigators had tried and failed to find dirt on McDonnell and had gone so far as to fly to California to interview the Romneys “to find someone to say something bad about McDonnell.’’
Of course, the Romneys aren’t bystanders in having their name bandied about alongside the McDonnells. Romney personally donated $10,000 to McDonnell’s legal defense team in April as the case began to take shape, The Washington Post reported.