"Gifts-for-Favors Trial Set for Ex-Governor, Wife"The Associated Press
Barry Pollack was quoted regarding the trial of former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, on federal corruption charges following an alleged gifts-for-favors scandal. The couple is accused of accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams, founder of a dietary supplements company, in exchange for helping to promote his products. Pollack said one of the key questions for the jury will be whether McDonnell believed it was improper to accept the gifts, including a Rolex watch, designer clothing, golf trips and $15,000 for a daughter's wedding expenses, while supporting Williams' efforts to grow a Virginia business. "The mere fact that he accepted gifts doesn't mean he accepted them with corrupt intent, and that's what the case is going to come down to, whether the jury believes the governor was acting with corrupt intent," he said. Additionally, Pollack said the government tends to carefully choose which cases it tries, but some defendants are acquitted even in high-profile cases. "The government necessarily will call Gov. McDonnell's character into question," he said, adding that prosecutors likely will counter defense claims of a lack of criminal intent by portraying the McDonnells as dishonest.
This story also appeared in ABC News on July 26, 2014.