Pictures from Cailin McDonnell’s wedding day were enough to bring her to tears while testifying Tuesday afternoon.
The oldest of the five McDonnell children told the court her wedding now has a black cloud over it. That’s because her big day became the subject of scrutiny in her parents’ federal corruption trial.
Prosecutors say Johnnie Williams, Sr., the owner and CEO of the dietary supplement company Star Scientific wrote former governor Bob McDonnell a $15,000 check to pay off the catering bill. One of the few checks, prosecutors say Williams wrote in exchange for Mr. and Mrs. McDonnell’s help in promoting his product Anatabolic.
Cailin denied knowing much about the loans that prosecutors say Williams wrote to her father.
She told the court she and her husband initially wanted to pay for the wedding themselves. The prosecution then grilled her about all of the things they didn’t pay for including her wedding dress, an Excursion limousine, and favors for guests at the reception.
During cross examination, Cailin told the court those gifts were offered to her by friends and had nothing to do with Mr. McDonnell.
Still, how his signature ended up on the catering contract was a question pressed by prosecutors. Cailin explained that she sent her father the contract to look over. He then signed it and sent it back to the caterer on his own. It’s something she says she was very angry about.
After meeting Williams for the first time, Cailin told prosecutors her mother called her and said he was so impressed by her that he wanted to pay for her reception.
Therefore, she says, she was under the impression that Williams was generously footing the bill on his own and knew nothing about a possible loan of $15,000.
She also says she didn’t know at the time that Williams had bought her mother’s dress for the occasion.
Cailin broke down in tears when prosecutors showed the court pictures of her and husband sharing a dance at the wedding and asked her to point out her mother and father standing in the background.