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Closing Arguments Begin in McDonnell Trial

Closing arguments begin this morning (August 29)  in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen. Federal prosecutors will begin, followed by defense attorneys then the jury will be read between 70 and 90 instructions on how to interpret the evidence they’ve been presented over the past five weeks. Key to the defense is the argument that the McDonnells' marriage was in trouble and they were barely communicating, and therefore couldn’t have conspired. The prosecution has sought to broaden the scope of the jury instructions so Maureen could be convicted of conspiring with Williams. Defense attorneys are trying to narrow the criteria by which the jury will craft their verdict, saying much of the prosecution's language explains what they don’t have to prove, rather than what they must prove. The jury instructions were agreed to last night but won’t become public until they’re read aloud later today.