Testimony by the former chief of staff for Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell Wednesday reveal a hot tempered, foul-mouthed governor’s wife who berated staff, went into screaming matches and abused the authority of the office with reckless abandon.
Mary Shea Sutherland described McDonnell as “undone” with her privileged surroundings and financial limitations and her descriptions of the First Lady left courtroom spectators in Richmond rolling their eyes and snickering.
McDonnell maxed out his credit cards, borrowed money from staff and went on wild spending sprees with others paying the tab.
Governor Bob McDonnell was both a spectator and participant in the sideshow involving his wife and took advantage of any perks he could use to also influence both his and his wife’s lifestyle.
The governor excused the actions of both his wife and himself.
But Sutherland saw no evidence of any relationship with diet executive Jonnie Williams, who bankrolled thousands of dollars of gifts, loans and outright payouts.
She did not see a “strained marriage” between the McDonnells. Instead, she testified, the governor and his wife often had private, intimate dinners complete with romantic gestures and sexual foreplay.
But both McDonnells rode hard on the governor’s staff and abused power with little thought towards protocol, graciousness or concern for the feelings of others.
When Sutherland left the witness stand and courtroom, many in attendance, were shocked to see Governor McDonnell hug her in the hallway.
Judge James Spencer was not amused and said the contact was “inappropriate.”
“Zip up your client,” the judge told defense attorney Henry Asbill. “Don’t let it happen again.”