McDonnell Trial: Were the former Governor and First Lady willing participants in a ‘corrupt agreement’?

Posted at 9:49 AM, Aug 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-11 17:24:29-04

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The former Star Scientific Chairman testified Bob McDonnell was taking the dietary supplement that he and his wife are accused of promoting in exchange for loans and expensive gifts.

As week two of the trial wrapped up Friday, prosecutors tried to show both the former Governor and First Lady were willing participants in a 'corrupt agreement'.

The man at the heart of it all, former Star Scientific CEO Johnnie Williams, says Bob and Maureen McDonnell accepted around $165,000 worth of loans and gifts from him.

In return, Williams says the McDonnells helped him promote his dietary supplement Anatabloc.

While on the stand Friday, Star Scientific Chairman Paul Perito described the couple's support as having a 'halo effect' which would have 'an impact on future sales of the product'.

But, the point prosecutors were trying to make to the jury is that Williams hid what he was doing from Perito because he knew it was wrong.

When asked whether he knew about the Rolex watch Maureen asked Williams to buy for her husband one week before the August 2011 Anatabloc luncheon being held at the mansion, Perito responded, "I did not know that, sir."

Perito also told prosecutors he wasn't aware of a $50,000 check Williams wrote or $20,000 he wired to MoBo Real Estate Partners, LLC- a company owned by the former Governor and his sister.

Had he known, "we would never all be here today. I would have put a stop to it," Perito told the court.

Defense attorneys have argued Williams was just a generous friend. They've also argued that Maureen hid a lot from her husband.

But, according to Perito it was his understanding the former governor wanted to use state tobacco funds to pay for Anatabloc studies. He also said Mr. McDonnell told him he was taking the product.

On Thursday, prosecutors brought a picture into evidence of the Governor holding a bottle of Anatabloc. Prosecutors say that photo was posted on Star Scientific's FaceBook page at one point.

Friday morning, Bob McDonnell's former Deputy Chief of Staff and Deputy Counselor described Maureen as a 'hoarder' who puts gifts in closets during an interview with FBI investigators.

Matt Conrad told the defense "we thought it best she understand her husband's filing requirements."

Conrad says he and another staff member decided to keep a log of Maureen's gifts to make sure any meant for her husband be reported.

Conrad told prosecutors Bob McDonnell was 'displeased' with the total value of gifts he received in 2011 worth more that $80,000 that was reported on the first draft of his 2011 (SOEI) statement of economic impact.

He said McDonnell wanted to know if it was more than previous governors.

Conrad also testified that McDonnell asked him who he could call a 'personal friend'.

While he says there is no definition in the code, he advised McDonnell to consider people he knew before running for attorney general as good candidates.

Williams previously testified that he first met McDonnell during his campaign for governor.

Prosecutors later used testimony from the Davenport Bank senior Vice President of Investments to once again try to make a point about Bob McDonnell's involvement.

John Piscitelli testified that Maureen wanted to move around 6,000 Star Scientific shares to avoid reporting requirements for her and her husband.

Ultimately, he says Maureen decided to sell the shares in December 2011 so that they wouldn't show up on a year-end statement.

In January 2012, Piscitelli says she bought back those shares and more.

The following month, Piscitelli says had a conference call with the former Governor and First Lady to discuss moving shares from Star Scientific directly to their account to take a loan against.

According to Piscitelli, Mr. and Mrs. McDonnell wanted to open a separate account in Maureen's name only.

An account was opened, but Piscitelli says the transfer never happened and it was quickly closed.

He also said the Governor 'thanked' him for helping Maureen with her earlier request of selling and repurchasing the stocks they already own.

Prosecutors asked Piscitelli if he questioned what the couple was doing. He said no.

In a statement he made to FBI investigators, Prosecutors say Piscitelli told officials he didn't ask questions because he really didn't want to know what the McDonnells were up to.

Former Attorney General, Jerry Kilgore, who was also a lobbyist for Star Scientific is expected to take the stand Monday morning.