McDonnells hope accountant can testify there was no financial hardship

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jul 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-15 21:53:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Bob and Maureen McDonnell were back in court Tuesday, just weeks before the start of their trial on July 28.

Their appearance comes just days after learning their daughter is expecting a child.

"I am really happy about that -- my little girl is having our first grand baby and it's a bright light during a tough time for us, but I am excited about it," McDonnell said, as he left the courtroom.

Maureen McDonnell, who did not leave with her husband, simply said "I'm happy."

In the courtroom, the McDonnell defense team was fighting for the testimony of Allan Kosowsky, a certified public accountant from Connecticut.

Click here to continuing coverage of this developing story.

The McDonnells want Kosowsky to testify that they were not in financial hardship during the period in question, undermining the motive prosecutors have alleged.

The prosecution, lead by Michael Dry and David Harbach, have laid out in court documents that because of a severe financial strain the McDonnell's accepted over $100,000 in gifts.

"Bob McDonnell would want this witness because it shows he didn't have a motive to commit this sort of a crime," said CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone.

Kosowsky testified Tuesday that because of Bob McDonnell's inheritance, as well as low interest credit cards, access to retirement funds, and a well-financed sister, the family was on "sound" financial ground.

This goes against what Maureen McDonnell is shown to have written in a 2009 email: "We're broke."

Kosowsky said that Bob McDonnell's sister Maureen, the 50/50 partner with Bob McDonnell in house rental company MoBo, reportedly makes $500,000  a year and has access to over a million dollars in assets.

Kosowksy also said that when Bob McDonnell's father died, he did not charge an executor's fee worth a reported $30,000 dollars, meant to further highlight the former governor's strong financial footing.

In his analysis, Kosowsky  suggested that Bob McDonnell's  $10,000 withdrawal from his retirement funds should not be seen as someone in need of financial help.

Apart from testifying on the McDonnell's finances, Kosowsky also spoke to what benefit, if any, Jonnie Williams received for cooperating with the government.

Williams is considered the star witness for the prosecution and the man behind the McDonnell gifts. In previous court hearings it was revealed Williams was offered transaction immunity by the government in regards to other, separate investigations.

Kosowsky said that Williams made over nine million  a year with Star Scientific. Kosowsky said that because the government put a stay on litigation against that company, the business which Williams maintains a financial interest in, was able to "live another day."

While Judge James Spencer said he would rule on whether Kosowsky can testify by Wednesday, the cost of McDonnell experts are beginning to add up.

Kosowsky said he is billing McDonnell $400 an hour  and that he has already worked about 150 hours.

Peter H. White, an attorney McDonnell also wants to testify, is charging McDonnell $940 an hour.

If there is any good news for the McDonnells it is that their legal defense fund has raised close to $250,000 dollars since it began next year.

Experts say the cost of the trial could be in the millions.