Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and his wife, Maureen, on trial for conspiring to use his office for personal enrichment, outlined an unexpected defense on Tuesday: Their marriage was so broken that they did not communicate enough to conspire about anything. NYTimes.comIt really doesn't get better than a fun, novel, delightfully devilish, slightly snarky argument.
Too often, we're stuck with nothing. We're stuck with the cigarette butts at the crime scene with my guy's DNA were planted there by the real culprit. Or the scratches all over the defendant's neck that just happen to match what the victim said she did to the perp really came from climbing through bushes to find that sad, stray kitten. Or I just happened to be in the bathroom when the real perp came in, killed the victim, and then left without a trace after which I then went and tried to revive the victim, thus explaining why my bloody footprints and fingerprints and DNA are all over the crime scene.
In short, we often don't have a whole lot to work with.
But this, yeah I could work with this.
Q: Now Mr. and Mrs. McDonnell couldn't stand each other, could they?
Q: They never voluntarily stayed in the same room together?
Q: Mr. McDonnell called his wife "The noose around my neck?"
A: More than once.
Q: And Mrs. McDonnell joked about spiking his food with cyanide?
Q: So the prospect of the two of them working jointly on a plan to use his office to enrich themselves?
A: Slim to none. And slim just left town.
It would be fun to ask these kinds of questions of all the witnesses. Just how much did these two hate each other? How acrimonious was the relationship? And how did it manifest? Affairs? Broken dishes? Cold, dead silence?
There could be a lot of shared smiles with the jurors, maybe a few titters. It's stressful as hell to have someone's life in your hands. Being able to bring a little levity to the courtroom helps. And having an argument you can really sink your teeth into is the dream.
So enjoy, McDonnell defense attorneys. I know I would.