Week 3 of McDonnell trial underway: 5 things to know

RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- Week three of the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen began Monday with testimony from former staff members and a former attorney general.

The former first couple is accused of accepting $165,000 in gifts and loans from then Start Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement, Anatabloc.

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Jerry Kilgore hired by Williams to help get state funding

Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore was last on the stand Monday. He testified that he was hired by Williams to help get state funding for anatabine research. Kilgore said he told Williams that the best way to get a grant from the Tobacco Commission was through a Virginia research institution like the University of Virginia or Virginia Commonwealth University.

In his testimony, Kilgore also talked about the Anatabloc launch party at the governor's mansion. Kilgore said that prior to the party, he received a call from a top member of the governor's staff who said he didn't want the mansion to host the launch party. Kilgore testified that when he shared this information with Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams said that he, along with the McDonnells, wanted the launch party to take place at the mansion. Williams said this was the best way to get the word out and get Anatabloc in the press.

2. UVA researcher says she felt pressure from former governor

UVA researcher Sharon Krueger testified that she wrote a pros and cons list about submitting a grant application to the Tobacco Commission requesting funding for Anatabloc research. One of the cons was "political pressure from gov." During cross examination, Krueger admitted that neither Bob McDonnell nor Maureen McDonnell had contacted her about Anatabloc or Star Scientific.

Krueger said her knowledge about the Anatabloc launch party at the governor's mansion and the McDonnells' public support of Anatabloc had made her skeptical.

3. Bob McDonnell pulls out Anatabloc at healthcare meeting

Two former Virginia employees took the stand Monday, testifying that the former governor pulled out a bottle of Anatabloc at a healthcare meeting.

Virginia's personnel chief Sara Wilson testified that Governor Bob McDonnell pulled out bottle of Anatabloc during a meeting on the state's health plan and said he used it and that it helped him and his wife. When the prosecutors asked why, Wilson said she didn't know and that "it was personal."

Former Secretary of Administration Lisa Hicks-Thomas remembered differently. She recalled the governor saying that Anatabloc "would be good for state employees," and asked them to meet with Jonnie Williams and Star Scientific. That meeting never happened. However, Sara Wilson said that a Star Scientific salesman had come to her office before that healthcare meeting on a cold call promoting Anatabloc.

4. Bob McDonnell's real estate firm accepted more than $200,000 in loans

Michael Uncapher, Bob McDonnell's former brother-in-law, testified that Bob and his sister Maureen's real estate firm MoBo had accepted $150,000 in loans before the loans from Jonnie Williams. Uncapher was married to Bob's sister Maureen and managed two Virginia beach properties owned by Bob and his sister.

Uncapher said that the McDonnells' real estate firm was struggling with expenses and would lose $50 to $60,000 a year. Uncapher said that Bob McDonnell and his sister Maureen had tried to sell the two properties in 2009, but were unable to do so. In late 2009 and early 2010, Mobo received three loans totaling $50,000 from Dr. Paul Davis. They also received a loan of $100,000 from their father. In an email discussing MoBo's finances, Bob McDonnell told Michael Uncapher that he was working on a "private solution."

Michael Uncapher said that he spoke to Jonnie Williams on the phone twice, but never met him. He said in both conversation, he was originally talking to the first lady who then handed the phone to Williams. In an email, Maureen McDonnell referred to Jonnie Williams as "the guy who is helping us."

MoBo received $70,000 in loans from Jonnie Williams. The prosecution showed text messages from Bob McDonnell to Michael Uncapher that discussed wire instructions for the loans. Michael Uncapher said payment on these loans wasn't due for three years. He said that he never saw a loan payment.

5. Bob McDonnell's former Chief of Staff said don't drive Ferrari

Bob McDonnell's former Chief of Staff Martin Kent was first on the stand Monday. Martin Kent served as the governor's chief of staff for four years and served as chief counsel to Bob McDonnell when he was attorney general. Kent said he had not heard of Jonnie Williams, Star Scientific or Anatabloc before Bob McDonnell ran for governor. Kent said he had never heard Bob McDonnell call Jonnie Williams a long time friend.

Direct examination began with the prosecution asking Kent about events and meetings at the Executive Mansion. Kent said that the governor had final say on these events. He said Maureen McDonnell would sometimes attend these events.

The prosecution asked Kent about a specific event on August 30, 2011, when the Executive Mansion held a lunch for Virginia researchers. Kent said that was a very busy time for the governor's office. He said there had just been three natural disasters - an earthquake, hurricane, and fires in the Chesapeake area. The morning of August 30, Bob McDonnell had two radio interviews to discuss the hurricane. He then returned to the mansion to meet with the Virginia researchers.

August 29, the night before the event, Kent said he was copied on an email that included a draft of a press release from Star Scientific. The press release stated that Bob and Maureen McDonnell were joining researchers at a lunch on August 30 to learn about the state of Anatabloc research. Kent, along with other members of the governor's staff, said he had concerns about the press release as it was written.

Kent said he contacted former State Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who was working with Star Scientific, to discuss his concerns about the press release. Kent said Kilgore understood his concerns and would talk to Jonnie Williams about it. During cross examination, Kent said he did not discuss the press release with Bob McDonnell. The defense was trying to show that Bob McDonnell was never asked about the press release and may have also been concerned about its contents.

When asked about Bob McDonnell driving Jonnie Williams's Ferrari while on vacation at Smith Mountain Lake, Kent said that the Executive Protection Unit usually drives the governor and first lady, and that Bob McDonnell hurt morale of the unit when he drove the Ferrari. Kent said he had a discussion with McDonnell about how this affected the unit. Kent said the unit had a job to protect the governor and felt that they couldn't. During cross examination, Kent said that after their conversation about the Ferrari, Bob McDonnell did not do it again.

During cross examination, defense attorney Henry Asbill asked Martin Kent if he ever had conversations with the governor about Jonnie Williams, to which Kent said no. Kent said that to his knowledge, Bob McDonnell never asked that anything be done for Jonnie Williams or Start Scientific. He said that McDonnell never appointed any board or cabinet members related to Jonnie Williams or Star Scientific. Kent also said he never discussed personal finances or marital issues with the governor.

Kent also remembered the Virginia State Police Superintendent calling to set up an interview with Maureen McDonnell about allegations that the chef at the mansion was stealing food. Investigators instead questioned her about gifts from Jonnie Williams. She had no lawyer present. Kent testified that when Bob McDonnell heard about the interview, he was
"visibly upset."

Concerning the revelation that Williams gave the first couple $70,000 in loans, Kent said the governor told him couldn't talk about it and was discussing with counsel.

WUSA9's Peggy Fox continues to cover the trial. Follow her on Twitter at @PeggyTV for updates.


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