Businessman ‘didn’t want anyone to know’ about gifts to former Virginia governor, his wife

By Contributor, National Monitor | August 01, 2014

Businessman ‘didn’t want anyone to know’ about gifts to former Virginia governor, his wife

If convicted, the McDonnells could face more than two decades in prison.

Jonnie Williams, the key witness in the corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, said Thursday that he "didn't want anyone to know" about the bribes he was giving to the couple in exchange for their promotion of his company, Star Scientific Inc., Reuters reports. According to The Associated Press, McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are facing 14 counts of corruption and bribery for allegedly accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from the wealthy businessman. Williams told the jury on Thursday that he purchased a Rolex for the powerful couple and also took them to a luxury resort on Cape Cod, The New York Times reports. However, Williams, the newspaper says, refused to buy a car for one of the couple's daughters. "The McDonnells are not my personal friends," Williams said during the trial, according to The AP. "I thought it was good for my company." According to The New York Times, Williams was providing the McDonnells with gifts and loans while he was simultaneously trying to convince Old Dominion State health officials to support an untested product marketed by Star Scientific Inc. If convicted, the McDonnells could face more than two decades in prison, in addition to a sizable monetary penalty, Reuters notes.


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