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Defense points to Bob McDonnell's wife as source of loans

Maureen McDonnell walks to her corruption trial at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, August 18, 2014 in Richmond, Va.

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's lawyers continued to build a case Tuesday that it was McDonnell's wife, Maureen, who orchestrated the receipt of more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Virginia CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement.

The couple was charged with a 14-count indictment just weeks after McDonnell's term as governor ended. They could face fines of more than $1 million and decades in jail.

On the stand Tuesday was Bob McDonnell's sister -also named Maureen - who owned a real estate business called MoBo Real Estate Partners. Maureen C. McDonnell showed a series of text messages she exchanged with the then-first lady regarding a $50,000 loan from Williams.

"I talked him into it," Maureen McDonnell wrote of the loan. "He preferred to write to me and I handle loan with you."

When Maureen C. McDonnell tried to discuss the loan with her husband, Michael Uncapher, and the governor, the first lady grew upset.

"I left u msgs bcuz I worked on the loan 4 a year, not Bob. I needed 2speak 2 u directly, not Michael. Why do u always do that 2 me? But u could return Bobs call?" she wrote in a text.

When she finally spoke with her brother about the loan by phone, Maureen C. McDonnell testified she could hear Maureen McDonnell screaming, "I arranged this!" in the background.

The defense also argued that the family didn't need Williams' money because Maureen C. McDonnell was independently wealthy from her salary, bonuses, and retirement accounts totaling nearly $750,000 dollars. But she testified that she preferred to take out individual or institutional loans where there were low interest rates available.

McDonnell's sister also added more context to the narrative that the governor's marriage was falling apart. She said her sister-in-law had two sides - one sweet and tender, and another that was "manipulative" "unpredictable" and "deceptive." The former first lady also referred to the governor's mansion as "that prison mansion."

Defense attorneys have said the marriage was on the rocks and that Maureen had developed a crush on Williams, suggesting that the McDonnells could not have engaged in a criminal conspiracy because they were barely speaking.

Bob McDonnell is expected to testify in his own defense at some point in the trial.

CBS News' Tolleah Price contributed.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for