The defense opened its case in former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption trial Monday, and at least part of the defense strategy seems aimed at a Not Guilty By Reason Of Wife’s Insanity verdict. A staffer for the former state First Lady testified that everyone in the governor’s mansion thought Mrs. McDonnell was “suffering from mental illness,” which presumably will advance the real defense aim of suggesting that she, not the governor, was the one responsible for the couple’s close association with a peddler of diet supplements, and so Bob McDonnell never did a corrupt thing at all. If she’s lost her shit, you must acquit!
Former Secretary of the Commonwealth (we think that’s like “Vice-Chamberlain of the Bath”) Janet Vestal Kelly was apparently all smiles while describing working for Bob McDonnell early in his career, but “her manner changed when asked to describe the difficulties she had experienced with the first lady.” Wow, SO courtroom drama:
“Most political wives step up to first lady. It’s not so quick of a jump,” she began. Prosecutors objected to her analysis, and she was directed to answer the question more directly. She paused, and then burst into tears.
“My difficulty in answering the question comes from that I don’t want to just pile on,” she said.
A box of tissues were supplied. “I hope I don’t need these,” she said. And she went on.
“She was very difficult, very demanding, very diva-ish,” Kelly said.
Are you leaning forward attentively, Dear Reader? We know we are! So dish, please — what did she do? Follow the staff around, throwing firecrackers at their feet if they didn’t move fast enough? Accuse them of stealing her strawberries? Tell her crippled sister Blanche that there were rats in the basement, and then ominously leave a covered dish for her lunch? Spill, already!
Kelly said she always felt the need to verify anything Maureen McDonnell told her with someone else. “She would exaggerate, embellish.”
After the election, Kelly said she agreed to serve in Bob McDonnell’s administration on one condition: “I told the governor flat out that I couldn’t work with Maureen.”
Oh. Well that’s a serious gossip buzzkill. We were hoping for some Sunset Boulevard — or at least Falcon Crest — histrionics, and you give us exaggerations and embellishments. Feh. And not a single juicy example.
Kelly also said that Mrs. McDonnell’s chief of staff, Mary-Shea Sutherland, often came to her and said that McDonnell had been screaming at staff, but darned if the Washington Post will tell us what she was screaming, or whether it ever involved wire hangers.
About six months into the administration, Kelly said Sutherland came to her saying, “I’m really worried about the first lady. This isn’t normal behavior and I’m concerned – ”
Prosecutors objected, and Kelly initially was not allowed to finish her thought. But she later went on to say, “There were concerns that she was suffering from mental illness.”
Got it. So the first lady was cray-cray, and that would explain why the McDonnells accepted metric shittons of gifts and loans from her Fantasy Boyfriend. Well done, Ms. Kelly! We are convinced — you have a career in soaps.