Report: McDonnell donor cooperating in corruption probe

Prosecutors may be building a criminal case against McDonnell related to potentially improper gifts from the donor

Published August 4, 2013 2:01PM (EDT)

The CEO of Star Scientific and a donor to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is reportedly cooperating with prosecutors in their investigation into whether or not McDonnell and his wife improperly accepted gifts in exchange for political favors.

From the Washington Post:

Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific, has turned over personal financial records and sat for interviews in which he provided firsthand accounts of luxury gifts and more than $120,000 given to McDonnell (R) and his family members since 2011, the people said.

Star has given prosecutors access to corporate records and offered information from other company officials. The three spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is in a sensitive stage.

According to the Post, the probe could mean that prosecutors are attempting to build a criminal case against McDonnell.

Federal officials are investigating a number of gifts given by Williams to the McDonnell family, beginning with $15,000 to pay for the catering at the governor's daughter's wedding, and  reportedly including a Rolex watch, a $15,000 shopping spree for McDonnell's wife, and an additional $120,000 in gifts. A state prosecutor in Virginia is also conducting an investigation into the funds.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Bob Mcdonnell Public Corruption Republicans Star Scientific Virginia