Prosecution star witness Jonnie Williams wrapped up testimony Monday, vehemently denying any romantic relationship with former First Lady Maureen McDonnell.
Williams also addressed the explosive email entered into evidence Friday, in which Mrs. McDonnell wrote to Williams following the 2011 Virginia earthquake, “I just felt the EARTH MOVE AND I WASN’T HAVING SEX!!!!”
“It’s just an odd message you get,” Williams testified Monday. “I didn’t know Mrs. McDonnell had any interest in me until last week.”
U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer asked Williams point blank if the two ever shared a physical relationship, with Williams emphatically denying the theory put forward by Mrs. McDonnell’s defense.
“Neither of us ever expressed romantic interest in each other,” Williams said. “I never had any physical contact with Mrs. McDonnell.”
A cathartic moment arrived during Williams’ cross examination, when the former Star Scientific CEO reflected on his lavish gifts for the McDonnell family.
“I just know what I was doing was wrong,” Williams repeated five separate times within two minutes. “It couldn’t be right for me to be paying all this money.”
McDonnell defense attorney Hank Asbill turned to the question of whether there was a quid pro quo element to the McDonnells’ dealings with Williams, identifying extended periods of time when Star Scientific received no special access to state health officials.
Asbill also expressed doubts that Williams’ friendship with the McDonnell family was simply a business arrangement. The attorney specifically discussed the day when Gov. McDonnell made a personal phone call to Williams’ father.
“It was your father’s birthday,” Asbill said. “Was it hard for you to keep pretending to be their friends?”
“They brought their business to me,” Williams responded. “I don’t recall paying my personal friends to hang out with me.”
McDonnell political adviser Phil Cox also took the stand Monday, telling prosecutors how Mrs. McDonnell reacted when she learned Williams could not buy her a $20,000 Oscar de la Renta dress.
“She sent me an insane rant on Christmas Eve,” Cox said, recalling an email from Mrs. McDonnell. “She called into question my loyalty… saying I did not have her or her husband’s best interests in mind.”
Cox also described a South Carolina meeting between Ann Romney and the former first lady on the 2012 presidential campaign trail, when Mrs. McDonnell said Williams’ dietary supplement could cure Mrs. Romney’s multiple sclerosis.
“I was horrified… I thought it was a train wreck,” Cox said.
According to Cox’s testimony, Williams joined Mrs. McDonnell on the trip to Charleston, S.C. and attempted to organize a meeting with presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The topic would have been the Star Scientific supplement known as Anatabloc.
“It wasn’t going to happen,” Cox said. “I have a recollection of thinking, ‘what the heck was [Williams] doing there?’”
Testimony continues Tuesday with Monica Block on the stand, who served as the governor’s scheduler.