July 31, 2014
Jurors heard about private conversations between former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams and Governor Bob McDonnell about how the wealthy businessman could discreetly give the family money to ease their financial problems during Williams' testimony Thursday.
Williams said he thought the 'ends justified the means' when asked on the witness stand about the $165,000 in gifts and loans he gave the McDonnells in exchange for the governor's help promoting his business. Williams testified about a phone call with Bob McDonnell in February of 2012 about his trouble getting the University of Virginia Medical School to agree to conduct human studies on his company's products. Williams said the conversation quickly shifted to the governor telling him he needed more money.
In the following months, Williams says he and the governor met privately to discuss how he could help them financially. According to Williams, Bob McDonnell agreed it would be best if no one knew. Initially, Williams agreed to loan his shares of Star Scientific to the McDonnells to cash in, but decided against that option when he learned the transfer would need to be disclosed.
"I didn't want anyone to know I was helping the governor financially while he was helping my company," Williams said.
Prosecutors showed an email sent from the Governor's personal Gmail account to Williams in February of 2012.
"Johnnie, know you have been slammed. Do you want me to call your lawyer on the certificates and the documents. Thanks for all your help. Gov"