Trial of Virginia Ex-Governor and His Wife Is an Amazing Soap Opera

Virginia ex-governor Bob McDonnell and ex-First Lady Maureen McDonnell are currently on trial for corruption, and even without the schadenfreude that comes from watching a rising whackadoodle star of the GOP be taken down all the pegs, the entire proceeding is at least twice as salaciously soapy and entertaining as the less murdery and threesomey episodes of House of Cards.

This trial has everything. Tears. Lavish weddings. Scammy dietary supplements. A guy named Jonnie. A wandering marital eye. Mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds (actually, those happened independently of the corruption trial, but it still really adds to the drama, don't you think?)

Earlier, the McDonnells' daughter Cailin cried on the stand when she admitted that although she intended to pay for her lavish 2011 wedding, what actually happened is that her father's friends (political donors and business leaders currying favor) paid for just about the entire thing.


The catering bill at the McDonnell daughter's wedding was picked up by one Jonnie R. Williams, the CEO of a dietary supplement company and the star witness for the prosecution. Today, lawyers for the McDonnells are arguing that it was impossible that they conspired to engage in corrupt activity because their marriage was "broken." And it was "broken" because Maureen McDonnell had a big old crush on Jonnie R. Williams. In a writeup so perfect that it almost hurts my feelings, the Washington Post deadpans,

Burck said the McDonnells' marriage had "broken down" during the alleged conspiracy, and she and Robert F. McDonnell were "barely on speaking terms." Dietary supplement company executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. took advantage of her genuine interest in so-called "nutraceuticals," and of her interest in his attention, Burck said.

"Maureen immediately gravitated toward Jonnie," Burck said. "He showered her with attention she craved."

Burck said one staffer would testify Maureen McDonnell considered Williams her " favorite playmate," and some would view their relationship as inappropriate. They exchanged 1,200 texts and phone calls during the period of the indictment, and Maureen grew protective and jealous of their connection, Burck said.

"Jonnie Williams was larger than life to Maureen McDonnell," Burck said. "But unlike the other man in her life, Jonnie Williams paid attention to Maureen McDonnell."

Holy shit. I need this to be an HBO miniseries, like, yesterday.