Testimony: First Couple "Broke", Asked Star Scientific CEO for "Financial Help"

July 30, 2014

Day three of the McDonnell corruption trial began Wednesday with testimony from Jerri Fulkerson, the personal assistant of Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. She shed light on the financial and personal relationship between the businessman and Virginia's first family.

Prosecutors began the day by poking holes in the defense's claim that Maureen McDonnell was mainly on the receiving end of the generosity of Williams by showing the court how much the whole McDonnell family benefited from gifts and trips.

Fulkerson testified she arranged several trips for the McDonnell family, including:
- A trip to the Homestead Resort, which the McDonnell's asked for Williams’ personal jet to pick up their children for, instead of having them drive the 1.5 hours.
- A family trip to Smith Mountain Lake, which included use of a yacht, a Ferrari for Bob McDonnell to drive, and a Range Rover for one of their daughters to use.
- Flights for two of the McDonnell daughters to go to Savannah, Georgia for a bachelorette party.
- Labor Day weekend couples’ trip for Bob and Maureen with the Williams in Cape Cod, which included spa days for the women and golf outings for the guys.
- Flights to Florida for a McDonnell daughter, with use of the Range Rover and day passes to the Ritz Carlton Beach
- A $10,000 wedding gift to the McDonnell's oldest daughter.

Fulkerson also told the jury about her involvement in writing checks for two loans totaling $70,000. She said she did so at the direction of Williams.

Fulkerson has been given immunity from prosecution for her testimony.

The defense was quick to point out McDonnell is not the first politician to take gifts from Williams: Former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, as well as former Attorney Generals Ken Cuccinelli and Jerry Kilgore all used Williams’ private plane.

Jonnie Williams began testifying late this afternoon.

Attorneys for the McDonnells have questioned Williams' character and say he has changed his story in order to receive immunity from prosecutors. His company is under investigation and a defense attorney says Williams may have illegally sold $10 million worth of shares to a friend.

Williams testified that he gave McDonnell and his wife money because it was a business relationship, not because they were friends.

Williams' testimony is set to continue Thursday.

You can view evidence presented on the first day of the trial by the prosecution by clicking on "McDonnell Evidence" on the side.


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