Former state attorney general testifies in ex-Va. governor's corruption trial
RICHMOND — The wealthy businessman who lavished former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife with thousands of dollars in gifts and loans said repeatedly that the couple supported his company and its signature product, former state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore testified on Monday.
Kilgore, now a private attorney, represented former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in his preliminary efforts to obtain money from a state tobacco commission for university research on the anti-inflammatory nutritional supplement Anatabloc. The commission is chaired by Kilgore's twin brother, state delegate Terry Kilgore.
The company never applied for the grant, stymied in part by a lack of progress in getting two state universities on board. Kilgore recalled telling Williams that the universities were “not stepping up to the plate yet.” Williams was frustrated.
“He reminded me again of the governor's and first lady's support,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2005 upon completing his term as attorney general, said he agreed that the governor's support would have been helpful. And he said there is nothing illegal about the governor supporting such a project.
Prosecutors said the McDonnells' support came at a price — more than $165,000 in gifts and secret loans from Williams. They are charged in a 14-count indictment with accepting the gifts and loans in exchange for promoting Williams' products.
Even before McDonnell received the loans from Williams, he borrowed $150,000 from two others to help bail out his struggling vacation rental properties, McDonnell's former brother-in law testified.