RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- The prosecution's key witness took the stand again Thursday in the federal corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen.
Jonnie Ray Williams, Sr., the man who lavished the McDonnells with more than $150,000 in gifts and loans, said the McDonnells were the ones with their hands out and that he only gave them what they asked for. Williams said he did it solely to get access to the Governor in hopes of convincing the lawmaker to get state researchers to study his product, Anatabloc.
When asked about the Rolex that he bought for Bob McDonnell, Williams said "I should not have had to buy things like that to get the help I needed." Williams said Maureen McDonnell asked him to buy the Rolex and suggested the engraving.
Williams said he knew it was a bad business decision. He said he made a mistake when he bought the watch.
Williams said Maureen asked him if they could have the white California Ferrari he owned because "they never get to do things like that." Williams had the car delivered to the McDonnells while they were vacationing at his resort.
When asked if he knew who would be driving the Ferrari, Williams said ""I asked her not to let the children drive."
Williams said that he gave the Rolex and Ferrari to the McDonnells after Maureen had a meeting with a Department of Health staff member. Williams said he gave the gifts in order to help his company, and that he was not personal friends with the McDonnells.
The prosecution is trying to show that every time Williams gave the couple a gift, the McDonnells took steps to help his company.
It was a stark contrast to the way defense attorneys characterized Williams' actions in court on Tuesday. Maureen McDonnell's attorneys called him a master manipulator who filled the void of a failed marriage. But Williams said the relationship was purely business between him and the McDonnells.
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"He's a politician, I'm a businessman," said Williams when asked to characterize his relationship with Bob McDonnell. Williams said he gave free use of his private Leer Jet to McDonnell because: "it's become common practice" in Virginia. "If you're a Virginia company, you make sure you have access" to politicians.
Day Two of the McDonnell's trial. Today the man at the center of the case took the stand....Jonnie Williams. Peggy Fox was in court today and said the star witness had a very different account of why he showered the McDonnells with expensive gift.
Williams shed a different light on the infamous shopping trip to New York where he purchased two Oscar de la Renta dresses, two pairs of Louis Vuitton shoes, a Louis Vuitton purse, raincoat, and other lavish gifts for for Mrs. McDonnell. Williams said it was Maureen McDonnell who pushed for the trip.
When Williams was invited to the governor's mansion for dinner, he said he went so that he could pitch his product to the governor.
On May 2, 2011, Williams said he went to the governor's mansion after Maureen McDonnell called. She told him she wanted to talk about Anatabloc. There, he said, Mrs. McDonnell explained that she and her husband were in financial trouble and that they were discussing filing for bankruptcy but that the governor thought that was a bad idea.
"She became very emotional at this point….she said to me, 'I have a background in nutritional supplements. The Governor said its OK for me to help you. But you need to help me,'" said Williams.
Williams said she asked for a $50,000 loan and then asked him to pay a $15,000 catering balance for her daughter Cailin's wedding. Williams said he'd do it, but first said that he needed to check with the governor. "Before I gave her $65,000 in two checks, I needed to make sure her husband knew. He's the breadwinner. I'm not writing a check to his wife unless he knows about it," said Williams.
Williams said he told the governor about the checks and the governor said, "thank you."
United States Attorney Michael Dry asked Williams why he agreed to loan $50,000 to Bob McDonnell and Williams said, "I needed his help with testing" his product. He said that the governor's support, would give Antabloc more credibility.
The defense is expected to deliver a strong cross questioning of Williams attempting to destroy his credibility. The defense, in opening statements said that Williams cannot be trusted and has changed his story nine times.