Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s lawyers met with investigators Monday in the continuing probe into gifts the governor and his family received from a politically connected donor.
Attorneys for McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, are trying to convince federal prosecutors that the couple should not face charges, The Washington Post reported.
McDonnell refused to comment on the meeting.
The governor's family accepted more than $145,000 in business and personal loans and gifts from Star Scientific and CEO Jonnie R. Williams Sr. since he donated more than $100,000 to McDonnell's gubernatorial campaign and political action committee in 2009. The FBI and state investigators are trying to determine whether the authority of the governor's office was illegally used to benefit the company.
A state-funded review of the case by Democratic former Attorney General Anthony Troy found no evidence that Star Scientific or Williams benefitted from the state government as a result of Williams's generosity toward the McDonnells, also noting that top Star Scientific officials lobbied senior McDonnell administration members to include its anti-inflammatory supplement Anatabloc in the health benefits packages of state employees, but the request was denied.
McDonnell announced in July that he and his family repaid a $70,000 business loan Williams made to a real estate business owned by the governor and his sister as well as a $50,000 personal loan that Williams made to Maureen McDonnell. The governor also announced that gifts Williams gave to the first family, including a $6,500 Rolex watch and checks of $10,000 and $15,000 to two of the family's daughters before their weddings, had been returned.
Bill Burck, a Washington lawyer representing Maureen McDonnell in the criminal investigation, said late Friday that she bought 6,000 Star Scientific shares worth about $30,000 in the summer of 2011 for herself and her children, then sold it in December 2011 at a substantial loss, $15,000. Then, in January 2012, she bought back the shares.
Rich Galen, a spokesman for the private legal team representing the governor, said that Gov. McDonnell was not aware of the stock purchases and that the transactions didn’t violate Virginia’s personal finance disclosure laws.