07/30/2014 07:37 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2014

Bob McDonnell's Legal Team Unfurls Genius 'It's-All-The-Woman's-Fault' Defense Strategy


Remember former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell? He was once thought of as a possible Republican presidential candidate by the people who evaluate such matters in their free time. Now, however, he is spending the majority of his time defending himself in a federal corruption trial, accused of trading political favors for gifts provided by former Star Scientific CEO, Jonnie Williams Sr.

For those unfamiliar with the vagaries of the case, The Washington Post has a November 2013 rundown of the prosecution's case against McDonnell and his wife, Maureen. But be sure to check out the Post's equally interesting recap of McDonnell's defense strategy, which essentially amounts to "Burn The Witch!"

Per the Post's Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman and Laura Vozzella:

Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) and his wife on Tuesday unveiled an unorthodox defense to the federal corruption charges against them: Maureen McDonnell had a “crush” on the charismatic executive who lavished gifts and cash on the couple.

Maureen McDonnell’s intense — even romantic — interest in Jonnie R. Williams Sr. helps explain why she let him pay for expensive shopping trips and vacations for her and her family while she promoted a nutritional supplement he was trying to sell, defense attorneys said during opening statements. She was not hatching a scheme with her husband to get rich by abusing the prestige of the governor’s office; rather, she was a woman in a broken marriage who craved attention.

That's right: McDonnell's defense plan is to essentially slut-shame his own wife in court, making the case that he was "an honest public servant who promised Williams nothing of consequence," while his wife, gripped with hormonal lust over walking charisma-dispenser Williams, got the couple in deep ethical trouble.

The Post reports that the ex-governor will "take the witness stand to proclaim his innocence even if that required him to lay bare his family’s troubles and discuss his wife’s dealings with another man." So remember that this is a huge sacrifice that Bob McDonnell is making, that probably weighs very heavily upon him, maybe even as heavy as the $6,500 Rolex watch that his wife, through Williams, obtained for him. Because that's what you do when you are involved with another man and your marriage is falling apart: You have your paramour buy your spouse a Rolex. That's just common sense.

The Post reports: "To be sure, defense attorneys have not asserted that Maureen McDonnell and Williams had a fully romantic or sexual relationship." That's the sort of thing McDonnell's legal team miiiiight want to button up before they attempt this line of defense. But heck, I'm no lawyer.

The whole "all this corruption came about because of some woman who couldn't control her emotions" defense is the hot new thing among Republican governors in 2014.

Defense attorney: McDonnell marriage had ‘broken down’ [Washington Post]

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