Credit Card Debt Drove McDonnells: Indictment

Gory details from the allegations
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2014 12:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Before Bob McDonnell was even in office, he and his wife were looking to then-Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams for gifts, according to the 43-page indictment against the couple. The document reveals that the couple had financial anxieties that may have driven their alleged graft, Politico reports. Weeks before McDonnell's inauguration, Maureen McDonnell emailed a senior aide fretting about how she'd afford a dress. "Bob is screaming about the thousands I'm charging up in credit card debt," she wrote. "We are broke, have an unconscionable amount of credit card debt already, and this inaugural is killing us!"

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Williams offered to buy Maureen an Oscar de la Renta dress for the occasion. Maureen ultimately said she'd take a "rain check"—which she later cashed in with a massive New York City shopping spree. Williams allegedly paid for the entire trip, spending $10,999 at Oscar de la Renta, $5,685 at Louis Vuitton, and $2,604 at Bergdorf Goodman. Other gifts included:

  • A $6,500 Rolex engraved with the words, "71st Governor of Virginia," which Maureen wanted to give McDonnell.
  • A vacation at Williams' lake house, during which they were given use of his Ferrari. Maureen allegedly sent Williams an email containing nothing but a picture of Bob driving the car.
  • Various loans and cash infusions—so far, they've already paid back more than $120,000 worth.
  • A trip to a Cape Cod resort.
  • Tickets for the McDonnells' daughters to go to a bachelorette party in Savannah, Ga.
ABC has a full list of goods the government wants the pair to return. Maureen generally solicited the gifts, while Bob used his influence to peddle Williams' products. He tried to push clinical trials for some, and to connect Williams with state health officials, according to the Washington Examiner, at times spouting infomercial-esque endorsements of Anatabloc. Williams even tried to convince McDonnell to pitch using Virginia employees as a test group for the drug, the Washington Post observes. McDonnell has denied all wrongdoing, and his lawyers today filed motions arguing that his behavior wasn't unusual. His predecessor, Tim Kaine, "took thousands of dollars in gifts during his time in office, while often taking actions to help those benefactors," it argues. (Read more Bob McDonnell stories.)

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