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April 18, 2014

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McDonnell defense: Attack motive of ex-staffer

Updated Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 | 1:44 p.m.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Defense lawyers in the federal corruption case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell are planning to attack the motives of his wife's former chief of staff.

Mary Shea Sutherland was close enough to the former first couple that she held her wedding reception at the governor's mansion.

But lawyers for Bob and Maureen McDonnell say in court filings that Sutherland was angling for a better-paying job in the private sector.

Sutherland wanted to do consulting work for Jonnie Williams, the former CEO of Star Scientific.

Prosecutors charged the McDonnells last week with accepting gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for helping promote his products. The trial is set for July.

The defense said Sutherland's secret ties to Williams undermine the prosecution's case.