Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Man, what a dingbat ex-VA First Lady Mo McD is! Yes, the Dingbat Defense emerges as the McDonnells' secret weapon!


Wait, you didn't really want to see this clip about the McDonnell trial witness list, did you? Sorry, it was on the WaPo "McDonnell Trial" live-blog page, and I don't even have a living link for you. But consider, that's 32 seconds of your life you would never get back.

by Ken

Hey, you'd be peeved too if the phone in the cubicle opposite yours had been ringing all frigging day -- and that cubicle has been unoccupied now for almost a year! Not to mention all that stuff going on in, you know, Washington and, well, the world!

So I vowed that I was by God going to find a subject for my post this evening that for once wouldn't have me raging, goddammit! Naturally my pile of Stuff to Maybe Write About didn't include anything that fit that description, so I went fishing.• On some webpage -- don't ask me which -- I found this:

I don't know who Maksim Chmerkofskiy is, but he must be important. I gather he's someone who has appeared on Dancing With the Stars, and while I find it hard to imagine that anything connected with Dancing With the Stars could be important, still, maybe the news that Maksim, whoever he is, for darn sure won't be appearing on it again -- that could be sort of good news, no?

Okay, so there was this:

Well, then this caught my eye:

Except I realized that no, I truly don't wanna see how the stars of Seinfeld have aged, as witness the fact that in the end I didn't click through.


Virginia Is for Lovers: But alas, it seems it wasn't the storybook romance it appeared from the outside, the marriage of the Family Values Party's Governor Bob and Dingbat Mo.

Okay, this could work. Here's a real corker of a story from yesterday's courtroom drama. It seems that Mrs. Governor Bob "had a 'crush' on the charismatic executive who lavished gifts and cash on the couple." So you see, "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."

Is this Mo McD a dingbat, or what?

Ohmygosh, shades of Martha Mitchell! It's the Dingbat Defense! Who doesn't love a good Dingbat Defense? We haven't been seeing it much lately. They still teach it in the law schools, don't they?

Okay, here's the story, and please, no smirking about the fact that it took three people to write:

Defense attorney: McDonnell marriage had ‘broken down’

By Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman and Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — 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.

“Jonnie Williams was larger than life to Maureen McDonnell,” said William Burck, Maureen McDonnell’s lead defense attorney. “But unlike the other man in her life, Jonnie Williams paid attention to Maureen McDonnell.”

And the governor, his defense attorneys said, was an honest public servant who promised Williams nothing of consequence. They said he would 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.


Glad you asked. Courtesy of today's WaPo live-blogging page, we've got our share of goodies.

We've had young Robert Ryan "Bobby" McDonnell on the stand, testifying how he thought of Jonnie R. Williams, the alleged corruptor of his parents, as a "mentor," and also how he thought the Rolex his mom gave his dad for Christmas -- a watch that in fact Jonnie R.W. had paid $6500 for -- was "a fake," "a knockoff."

We've had Jonnie R.W. himself on the stand, explaining about his company's strange history as it became intertwined with the story of the McDs' worsening financial situation. But much more fun are Jonnie's insights into Mo McD's Dingbat World. He told the story of the famous April 2011 New York shopping expedition, on which he accompanied the Virginia First Lady on. It seems Jonnie doesn't remember exactly how many items were bought, but one thing he surely does remember: “It went on for hours.” he said.

Which brings us to the jolly story of Dingbat Mo's dream of a schmatta from the rag shop of Oscar de la Renta:
A 'rain check' on an Oscar de la Renta dress

In a small restaurant near the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel in New York in 2009, businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. said he had his first sit-down meeting with the McDonnells, “just trying to establish a relationship” with the then-governor elect in what “happens to be a nice environment.”

There, too, was Brad Kroenig, a male model and friend of Williams. Williams testified that when he introduced Kroenig to then- Gov. Robert McDonnell’s wife Maureen, she began talking fashion — particularly what she would wear to her husband’s upcoming inauguration.

“She said, ‘You know, I have a problem with, I’ve got to come up with a dress to wear for the inauguration,” Williams said. He said she asked Kroenig if he had any connections in the fashion world who might be able to assist her.

Williams testified that he himself, though, was the one with the fashion connection — a good friend, he claimed, was the goddaughter of Oscar de la Renta. He testified he told Maureen he would help her with the dress, hoping that through his friend, he could line up a loaner from de la Renta.

The governor, Williams said, heard the exchange. But ultimately, the plan fell through. Williams said a lawyer in the governor’s office called him later and nixed the idea, to Maureen’s dismay.

“She wasn’t happy about it. She was disappointed,” Williams testified. “She said she would just take a rain check.”
But wait, let's go back to the story of that magic day 4/11/2011-- you remember, the shopping trip that "went on for hours":
Jonnie Williams has just finished explaining to the jury his April 2011 shopping trip with the then-first lady of Virginia. He said he got a call from Maureen McDonnell in April explaining that she and the governor were coming to New York and “we could go shopping now.”
Williams, recalling that he had earlier been told by then-Gov. Bob McDonnell’s counsel Jasen Eige that he could not purchase the first lady’s inauguration gown, said he responded, “Are you sure that’s okay?” he testified. She responded, “It’s okay now.”

So he said he arranged the day. Accompanied by her chief of staff Mary-Shea Sutherland and two police officers, Williams took Maureen McDonnell first to lunch at Bergdorf-Goodman. Then, the crew went to Oscar de la Renta, where he had made an appointment through a friend who was close to de la Renta. After that, they went to Louis Vuitton. Then, he testified, Maureen McDonnell requested to return to Bergdorf-Goodman for more shopping.
Okay, Jonnie R.W. also testified about Mrs. Governor Bob telling him about the McDs' severe financial woes, in a conversation that also included chitchat about Jonnie's company, and about her asking him for loans in the amount of $50K and $15K would sure come in handy for the McDs, and about Jonnie saying he really wanted to talk to the governor himself. ("I needed to make sure her husband knew about it. He’s the breadwinner in the house, and I’m not writing his wife checks without him knowing about it.")

However, there was no testimony -- Post-ie Matthew Zapotosky stresses -- about a quid pro quo connected to the loans. Well, that's okay then, right?


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