Bob McDonnell, the former Gov. of Virginia, has just been indicted for accepting loans and personal gifts from the CEO of Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams. His wife Maureen McDonnell was also indicted.
According to the indictment, the McDonnells began accepting money and gifts from Williams as far back as 2009 for promoting Star Scientific, and in total received over $135,000. And although McDonnell called Williams a close personal friend and considered the gifts to be just that, gifts, federal prosecutors said the two didn’t have a personal relationship until after the money and the gifts were received.
“In or about March 2009, as a result of requests from Robert McDonnell’s staff to JW, Robert McDonnell began using a jet aircraft owned by JW during his campaign for Governor of Virginia,” read the 42-page indictment. “Prior to this time, Robert McDonnell and JW had never met, and they had no personal or professional relationship.”
According to prosecutors, the gifts included money to pay for the wedding of McDonnell’s daughter, trips on William’s private jet and a $20,000 loan to pay off store tabs at expensive places like Louis Vuitton. The former governor admits to accepting these gifts, but says he received them within the confines of the law.
“I deeply regret accepting legal gifts and loans from Mr. Williams, all of which have been repaid with interest, and I have apologized for my poor judgement for which I take full responsibility,” said McDonnell in a statement. “However, I repeat emphatically that I did nothing illegal for Mr. Williams in exchange for what I believed was his personal generosity and friendship.”
Additionally, McDonnell said he never used his position as governor to help Williams or his company at any time, and he plans to fight the charges, which he calls completely false. “I never promised, and Mr. Williams and his company never received, any government benefit of any kind from me or my Administration,” he said. “We did not violate the law, and I will use every available resource and advocate I have for as long as it takes to fight these false allegations, and to prevail against this unjust overreach of the federal government.”
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