That's where he has been living since about a week before the start of the public corruption trial in which his wife, Maureen, is a co-defendant, McDonnell testified Thursday.
"I knew that there was no way I could go home after a day in court ... and revisit things every night with Maureen," McDonnell said during an often emotional day of testimony that began with an examination of his marriage, which he said is "basically on hold." McDonnell was expected back on the stand Friday.
McDonnell and his wife have had little interaction during the first 19 days of their trial. They are charged with accepting more than
The couple's marriage is a key element of the defense, which suggests they could not have engaged in a criminal conspiracy because they were barely communicating.
McDonnell choked up at times, speaking in a melancholy tone and sometimes pausing before answering questions from his lawyer. He became particularly emotional as he described what led him to write a forlorn email to his wife on
"I was heartbroken," he said, and worried "that this was maybe the end of my marriage."
He apologized for being absent so much because of his political career, but wrote, "I am completely at a loss as to how to handle the fiery anger and hate from you that has become more and more frequent."
"I was actually hurt" that she was communicating more with Williams than with him, McDonnell said.
McDonnell testified that he doesn't believe his wife had an affair with Williams, but that they had developed an intense, emotional connection to which he had been oblivious.
The marital tension worsened in late 2011, McDonnell said, when he would often come home to his wife's overblown complaints about her staff. McDonnell said his wife yelled over the phone at assistants and became angry with him when he told her she shouldn't treat the staff so badly.
"I got to point where I just couldn't come home and deal with that," McDonnell said, so he started staying at the office well into the night to avoid going home.
McDonnell said he and his wife also clashed over how to spend a
"That was the wrong decision for my wife and our marriage," McDonnell said.
He said he sensed her resentment, and a few months later she asked Williams for a
"I was astounded," he said of learning later about the loan.
McDonnell also didn't know at the time that Williams had paid for a
"I was not going to tell her what to do with her money," he said. "I'd made that mistake before."
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