Yesterday, Maureen McDonnell's former chief of staff, Mary-Shea Sutherland, testified in the federal corruption trial against McDonnell and her former-Virginia-governor husband Bob. Sutherland had some colorful things to say about the first lady.
As first lady of Virginia, Maureen McDonnell sometimes yelled at her chief of staff so loudly that the governor's security detail came rushing over to see what was wrong, the onetime top aide testified Wednesday. McDonnell text-messaged workers at all hours of the day and night, no matter if they were at home making dinner or even sleeping.
And she once accused the mansion chef of intentionally serving her spoiled food — just to make her sick at Christmas, the aide testified.
Sutherland also called the "emotional stress" brought on by her position as McDonnell's top staffer "intolerable," and admitted she had referred to the first lady as a "nutbag" in an interview with the FBI.
The McDonnells, you may recall, are on trial for lending favors to local businessman Jonnie R. Williams in return for cash gifts and loans, and their attorneys are arguing that Maureen's possibly romantic relationship with Williams left the couple's marriage too tattered for the two to concoct such a scheme. Sutherland's testimony provided some fuel for that defense—staffers referred to Williams as Maureen's "favorite playmate," Sutherland said, and he gave her gifts of expensive clothing and jewelry—but maintained that the union was intact. From the Post:
She said staff members worked hard to find times for the first couple to eat meals together. And she recalled an incident in which Williams bought Maureen McDonnell a yellow dress — at her request — because her husband "had fallen in love with her in yellow."
On another occasion in 2011, Sutherland said, Maureen McDonnell showed her a love poem that the governor had written to her. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Aber asked Sutherland to describe the general contents of the note "without being too crass."
[Image via AP]