In response to questioning from the defense, Matthew A. Conrad, who served as the governor's deputy chief of staff, testified “I’d heard that there were piles of gifts and things being put in closets that needed to be accounted for.”
The Washington Post reported that Conrad was responding to a question about a 2012 email discussion among staffers about gifts for the couple. They were concerned that Maureen McDonnell received some gifts and some gifts were sent to the Executive Mansion that were actually intended for the governor. Conrad confirmed in his testimony that staffers wanted to ensure that such gifts were disclosed.
At issue in the federal corruption case embroiling the McDonnells is roughly $150,000 in gifts, vacations and loans from Jonnie Williams, a Virginia businessman who was formerly the CEO of a struggling diet supplement company, Star Scientific. Prosecutors are trying to prove that the McDonnells used the governor's office to support Williams' company over the years in exchange for those gifts.