RICHMOND, Va. — The federal corruption trial against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife will continue after the judge denied defense motions Friday to dismiss the case.
Jurors had been given the day off after the prosecution rested its case Thursday.
"The Supreme Court has said not every action a public official makes on the job is an official act," lawyers for Bob and Maureen McDonnell said before U.S. District Judge James Spencer. "The Supreme Court has said mere access is not corruption."
The McDonnells are accused of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from wealthy Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his company's nutritional supplements. The defense will begin presenting its case Monday in what will be the fourth week of what originally was expected to be a five-week trial.
Although the McDonnells are being tried together, they have separate legal teams, and Maureen McDonnell's lawyers continued to argue that her charges should be dismissed because as Virginia's former first lady she was not a public official.
Bob McDonnell's lawyers also attempted to sever the debts of the former governor from his wife, whom he married in 1976, and a vacation-rental business that he and his sister own together.
"The liabilities of Mrs. McDonnell and the liability of MoBo (Real Estate Partners LLC) are not the liabilities of Mr. McDonnell," Bob McDonnell's lawyers said. Spencer disagreed.
Williams, at the time chief executive of public company Star Scientific, gave the McDonnells three loans of $120,000, and much of that money went toward shoring up MoBo, which had been facing a shortfall of about $50,000 annually on mortgage payments and other expenses for two Virginia Beach vacation homes that Bob McDonnell and his sister bought in 2005 and 2006.
The defense's arguments Friday were similar to those of its past unsuccessful court motions. Specifically, lawyers argued that Bob McDonnell had done nothing to provide Williams with anything of real value other than to set up meetings and attend events.
Defense lawyer Ryan Newman said prosecutors are interpreting the law too broadly, in a way that could criminalize routine political courtesies and put other politicians at risk for prosecution.
"The line must be clearer than that," Newman said.
Spencer rejected that argument and said he would provide a written explanation at a later time.
After Bob McDonnell's motions to dismiss were denied, the former governor said outside court that he knew it would be a long trial but looks forward to the defense's case.
Contributing: The Associated Press