And what will it do to the Republican’s chances in the November election? For months the Governor has claimed ignorance, claiming that he did not know how his wife got his Christmas gift of a $6,500 gold Rolex with the engraving “71st Governor of Virginia”. The Governor claimed to be unaware of his wife’s New York shopping spree in which Star Scientific’s President, Johnnie Williams, paid $15,000 for new clothes for the first lady. The Governor’s defense has pretty much been fingering pointing at Maureen—She did it and he knew nothing about it. It was all Maureen’s fault. She made him to do it.
I bet that bus hurt when it ran over Maureen, especially when it backed up to run over her again and again.
Many of McDonnell’s loyalists have long maintained quietly that the governor was a victim of his wife’s excesses and was so busy with state business that he had little time to monitor her behavior.
Today’s Post is reporting a different story:
People familiar with accounts that Williams and others have provided to investigators, as well as witnesses interviewed by The Post, say each of those gifts came with the governor’s knowledge — contrasting with an assertion by McDonnell’s attorneys that he was in the dark about the extent of the gifts Williams bestowed on his family.
Attorneys for the governor and first lady Maureen McDonnell argued to federal prosecutors two weeks ago that the governor should not be charged with any crimes, in part because of this ignorance, people familiar with the sessions said…….
…As a legal matter, ignorance could be helpful to the governor if it helps him convince prosecutors that he was not taking action in exchange for Williams’s gifts and that his wife was not working on Williams’s behalf when she used her role and state offices to help the company.
Attorneys for the governor and first lady maintain that he also was initially unaware that she on several occasions bought stock in Star Scientific, purchases that gave his family a financial stake in the company as she was simultaneously promoting the company at Star events across the country.
They have said publicly that the governor’s actions to help the company were limited, were not out of the ordinary and were not undertaken as part of any exchange with Williams.
Those actions are even less problematic, they have argued to prosecutors, when paired with how little he knew about his wife’s actions.
Not guilty by reason of ignorance. Interesting defense, but I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on blogs. Now Johnnie Williams is claiming the Governor’s claim of ignorance is not true:
Prosecutors are now weighing that claim, along with Star corporate records and other evidence they have gathered over a months-long investigation. People familiar with Williams’s account have said that the executive has told prosecutors that he and the governor had discussed ways to help Star.
Johnnie Williams’ version of what happened differs in significant ways from the Governor’s story:
Williams and other Star Scientific officials have provided investigators with extensive details of gifts Williams gave to the governor and his relatives, and in some cases, their accounts differ from the governor’s about McDonnell’s role and knowledge, according to people familiar with the evidence.
Those accounts show that Williams arranged to be reimbursed by his company for many of the gifts, a sign that he viewed the gifts as a business expense that would pay dividends to the company.
I am hesitant to believe the Johnnie Williams’ version of events because he’s trying to save himself from prosecution:
Since news emerged that Williams is cooperating with prosecutors, the governor’s spokesman has described the executive as someone long in trouble with government entities. On Friday, Galen said Williams needs to “appear to be cooperating” to avoid his own legal troubles.
Galen called Williams “hardly a credible source” and said evidence will show that Williams repeatedly “falsified his expense accounts with respect to his claimed dealings with the Governor and Mrs. McDonnell.”
In an e-mail exchange with The Post, Galen did not address the most recently discovered gifts from Williams to the governor and his family.
What does this all mean for the November elections? It appears the timing couldn’t be worse:
Prosecutors have now asked the governor’s and first lady’s attorneys to return for a second round of discussions no later than the week of Sept. 15, during which prosecutors are expected to lay out the key elements of the case, said a person familiar with the schedule.
Prosecutors could decide whether to file charges after the meetings, the person said. But the timing is somewhat tricky, because voters go to the polls Nov. 5 to select McDonnell’s successor, and prosecutors may want to avoid a perception that their work is influencing the results, people familiar with the investigation said.
Does this mean that the prosecutors will wait until after the November elections to file charges? If they have the evidence will they wait two months to charge the governor? If the prosecutors do anything prior to November 5th, it will indeed effect the elections. The Governor’s actions have already had a negative effect on republican supporters across the state. This needs to end, the sooner the better or Republicans will pay a big price on November 5th.
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