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Ex-Aide Testifies of Conflict at the Executive Mansion

In sworn testimony during the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen McDonnell, the former first lady’s original chief of staff said she had to leave her job in 2011 due to Mrs. McDonnell’s constant screaming. Mary Shea Sutherland confirmed that she had told federal investigators that Mrs. McDonnell was a “nutbag.” Sutherland said the yelling prompted the executive protection unit to enter the room to investigate on more than one occasion.

Sutherland also confirmed that she had referred to former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams as the First Lady’s “favorite playmate” and called their outings “playdates.” But Sutherland testified that the McDonnells appeared to have a healthy marriage and that the first lady never had any romantic interest in Williams.

Defense attorneys have stated that the McDonnell’s were barely speaking at the time and couldn’t have conspired together.

Sutherland, who had discussions with Williams about working for him, said the CEO felt used by the McDonnells. The former chief of staff also testified that she had lent Maureen McDonnell $6,000 in the summer of 2011 to buy Star Scientific stock.