McDonnell Timeline: What they did wrong and when they did it

RICHMOND, Va. —  After more than a month of sometimes soul-baring testimony, a federal jury issued guilty verdicts on 11 counts against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, while clearing him on two others. His wife, Maureen, was convicted on nine while cleared on four. The charges involved gifts the couple received from Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams. Prosecutors proved the gifts were accepted with corrupt intent.

While the guilty verdicts were reached following a  five-week trial, the events that lead up to the McDonnells indictment, trial and eventual conviction stretched back several years.

In December 2009, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and Jonnie Williams meet at a political event in New York.

In December 2009, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and Jonnie Williams meet at a political event in New York.

In December 2009, Governor-elect Bob McDonnell and Jonnie Williams meet at a political event in New York. There, Williams offered to buy Maureen a dress for the upcoming inaugural. McDonnell’s staff eventually nixed the idea.

The following fall, in October 2010, Governor McDonnell used Williams plane to fly back from California to Richmond. During that trip Williams discussed anatabine, a compound his company, Star Scientific was developing.

On October 12, McDonnell’s staff sent Secretary of Health Bill Hazel a press release about anatabine’s use as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

On October 12, McDonnell’s staff sent Secretary of Health Bill Hazel a press release about anatabine’s use as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Nine days later on October 12, McDonnell’s staff sent Secretary of Health Bill Hazel a press release about anatabine’s use as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The next month Hazel met with Williams, despite his skepticism about Williams’ claim.

April 2011, Williams and Maureen McDonnell go on $20,000 shopping spree

April 2011, Williams and Maureen McDonnell go on $20,000 shopping spree

The following April, Williams said Maureen McDonnell told him “we can go shopping now,” according to court testimony. The two flew to New York for a $20,000 shopping spree. The trip included stops at Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, and Bergdorf’s.

That night Williams sat next to Bob McDonnell at a fundraiser.

The next month, on May 23 2011, two checks are delivered, $50,000 to Maureen and $15,000 for McDonnell daughter Cailin’s June wedding. According to testimony the parties agreed, “no paperwork was necessary.”

The next week, McDonnell, his sons, and future son-in-law play golf at the Kinloch Club racking up a nearly $2,400 tab on Williams’ account.

In a June 16 letter, Williams asked Maureen about getting a study of Anatabloc, possibly with funding from the Tobacco Commission.

In July 2011 the McDonnell family vacations at Williams’ Smith Mountain Lake home.

In July 2011 the McDonnell family vacations at Williams’ Smith Mountain Lake home.

The next month, the McDonnell family vacations at Williams’ Smith Mountain Lake home where a Ferrari is made available and a boat is rented for the family’s use.

Ferrari

The day after that trip, August 1, 2011, Maureen and Williams met with a senior McDonnell Administration health policy advisor.

During that meeting, Williams again mentioned a possible study from the Tobacco Commission.

On August 13, McDonnell and son golf at Kinloch, incurring a nearly $900 tab to Williams.

That Christmas, Maureen gives Bob McDonnell an engraved Rolex watch, paid for by Williams.

That Christmas, Maureen gives Bob McDonnell an engraved Rolex watch, paid for by Williams.

That Christmas, Maureen gives Bob McDonnell an engraved Rolex watch, paid for by Williams.

Early in 2012, McDonnell and his son golf again at Kinloch, running up a $1,400 bill.

On February 29, 2012, McDonnell met privately with Williams at the Governor’s mansion to discuss an additional loan, possibly in the form of Star Scientific stock. That night a reception for Virginia healthcare leaders is held at the mansion, and Williams and several company officials are invited, despite Secretary Hazel’s insistence they NOT be invited.

In February 2012, Williams took the McDonnells to the downtown restaurant La Grotta where he picked up the $1,400 tab.

In February 2012, Williams took the McDonnells to the downtown restaurant La Grotta where he picked up the $1,400 tab.

Afterwards, Williams took the McDonnells to the downtown restaurant La Grotta where he picked up the $1,400 tab.

A week later, on March 6, an assistant to Williams wrote a $50,000 check, instead of stock, which the government would later say was to avoid disclosure.

On March 21, McDonnell met with the Secretary of his Administration and an assistant to discuss Anatabloc. According to testimony, he pulled out a bottle of pills out of his pocket and said the pills have been working for him.

On May 18, 2012, Williams wire transferred another $20,000 to help the McDonnells’ struggling Virginia Beach properties.

In August 2012, the McDonnells vacation as Williams’ guests at the Chatham Bars Inn, a spa on Cape Cod.

In August 2012, the McDonnells vacation as Williams’ guests at the Chatham Bars Inn, a spa on Cape Cod.

That August 31, the McDonnells vacation as Williams’ guests at the Chatham Bars Inn, a spa on Cape Cod. Researchers and McDonnell staff go as well.

Starting in November 2012 until the following March, Jonnie Williams’ brother does yard work and home repair for the McDonnells’ private home.

At the end of December, Maureen McDonnell transfered her Star Scientific stock into her five children’s accounts, which the government will later say was to avoid disclosure.

The following January, Governor McDonnell filed his Statement of Economic Interest form, where he listed a $50,000 loan for “health services” as his only liability. The only gift listed is the trip to Chatham Bars on Cape Cod.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell

Bob and Maureen McDonnell

On February 1, 2013 the McDonnells filed a new loan application.

On the 15th, investigators interviewed Maureen about the earlier $50,000 and $15,000 loans. According to investigators, she said they were personal and that paperwork existed.

Three days later, on February 18, Bob McDonnell sent an update with five handwritten pages to the bank that listed the Williams’ loans.

On March 13, 2013, Maureen gave Jonnie Williams’ brother a box that contained gifts from Williams. The gifts included dresses and a Rolex watch as well as a letter to Williams, in which she wrote she was returning gifts “like we talked about” so they could be auctioned for charity or even used by Williams’ daughter.

The government said the letter was an effort at obstruction, to disrupt the grand jury’s investigation.

The following January, the McDonnells were indicted on 14 counts. Their five-week trial began on July 28. The guilty verdicts were reached on September 4, 2014.

(The CNN Wire was used for a portion of this story)

16 comments

  • Jonnie Williams Jr.

    Don’t forget where he learned his ethics – Regent University Law School in Virginia Beach. I am heading there now to enroll in law school too…at the bastion of conservative Christian education.

  • david

    I don’t get it. Are loans considered gifts? I guess I should be thanking my bank for the car gift–and I shouldn’t have to pay them back, plus interest, either. Driving my friend’s car–for a weekend? An expensive watch, a vacation, and playing golf? Really, that’s petty cash. And the Gov says ‘check out this anabloc stuff. Is it legit?’ For these ‘crimes’ the taxpayers got hit with how many million$$$ cost for a lengthy court case?

    • guest13579

      Well an undocumented loan could very well be a gift. If it was never anything in writing agreeing it was a loan, there was really no legal obligation to ever pay it back. So then it was a gift. A $20K shopping spree — also a gift. The whole point is, Williams was never really their friend. He built a relationship with them for the purpose of promoting his products. I mean their first meeting was after McDonnell was elected governor, and in that first meeting Williams was already offering to buy Maureen a dress? That has shady written all over it. Williams wanted to get in good with the McDonnells for the sole purpose of advancing his own products — spread the word, get some govt funding, be invited to events where he could meet more high profile people — and the McDonnell’s fell for it hook line and sinker. And the only proof presented was emails, texts, etc. I can only imagine the verbal conversations they had over the years and how many times Williams asked McDonnell to talk to someone about his product.
      HOWEVER — this is nothing that hasn’t been going on in the govt for ages. We’d have hardly any politicians left if we prosecuted anyone who had accepted a gift in exchange for a govt favor or voting a certain way on a law.

      • Manlishi

        Sooo, based on your premise, Maureen’s shopping spree is Bob’s liability, And I cannot loan $ to anyone (especially someone in office) based on a handshake and a promise or it’s illegal. Now, your compelling take in Williams, “He built a relationship with them for the purpose of promoting his products.” shows a “special” effect as it pertains to his surrealistic blanket immunity. Although the career is over, this trial stinks from both sides and ample grounds for appeal.

        Like Bob or not. Corrupt or not. multiple corrupt underlying fact remains. Given one plea deal as well as the separate immunity deal, the justice department squandered countless millions of taxpayer $ for what? To punish a seemingly petty scenario? Exactly where did Bob defraud VA citizens with this crime? We already know Williams defrauded millions and escaped multiple prosecutions just to make this DOJ prize happen. So was justice served? Let’s ponder this, Maureen was not governor and as a separate individual, is independent in her charges. The very notion (wife or not) that both are tried by the same judge/jury and in the same trial is proof positive of either judicial collusion or ineptitude. I suspect the prior given the blanket immunity.

        Even more concrete evidence of much larger scale corruption has been exposed to higher profile figures such as Pelosi, Reid, Waters, Feinstien, and even Holder. But you won’t hear a word in this venue.

  • Jack

    Any wonder as to why people have such contempt for politicians in both parties and a deep mistrust of government in general?? This stuff goes on all the time. What does this say about the kind of people being voted into office? Disgraceful.

  • Southern Gent

    After this verdict I wonder if Rick Perry and Chris Christie are flashing those big smiles now.
    Book em Dano…

  • Jim

    Politicians (amoung others) get away with stuff and more stuff and then begin to thinks it’s okay and in to few cases they get caught, thank God or the world would be a more terrible place.

  • david

    Interesting how the the person who knowingly and admittedly committed the crimes–JW–gets immunity, guaranteed. No lesser charge, misdemeanor, not even a slap on the wrist. And for all the quid pro quo, the company stock fell dramatically.

  • Suzanne Morgan

    What’s keeping Jonnie Williams so “squeaky clean” and out of jail? Wasn’t he the one who orchestrated this entire thing? As usual, everybody pays for the sins of one…….

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