- Key players
Jonnie Williams Sr.: The CEO of Star Scientific, maker of a dietary supplement called Anatabloc, has given thousands of dollars in gifts to Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family — including $15,000 to cover the catering at daughter Cailin McDonnell’s June 4, 2011, wedding at the Executive Mansion. He also has given thousands in gifts to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Williams’ company is the subject of a federal securities probe and at least three lawsuits filed by shareholders.
Todd Schneider: The chef at the Executive Mansion from 2010 to 2012, he is accused of four felony counts of embezzlement, allegedly stemming from the theft of food from the mansion. Schneider’s lawyers say in court filings that during the investigation of Schneider, the chef gave federal and state investigators information of “wrongdoing” and “abuse” by McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell.
Gov. Bob McDonnell: The governor faces state and FBI scrutiny over his ties to Williams. Richmond’s commonwealth’s attorney also is evaluating McDonnell’s financial disclosure forms at Cuccinelli’s request.
Maureen McDonnell: Williams, the Star CEO, flew the first lady to Florida on his private jet to attend a June 1, 2011, briefing on research conducted on Anatabloc. Two months later, the first lady’s office organized a luncheon for Star Scientific at the Executive Mansion, funded by Opportunity Virginia, the governor’s political action committee. The governor, who briefly attended, says the event was for Star Scientific to award research grants to two public university health systems in Virginia.
Ken Cuccinelli: The attorney general also is the Republican nominee for governor. Cuccinelli asked out of prosecuting the chef in April, more than a year after Schneider met with FBI and state police investigators in the attorney general’s office. Last month Cuccinelli announced that he had received $5,100 more in gifts from Williams over the past four years than he initially disclosed.
Michael N. Herring: In November, Cuccinelli asked Herring, Richmond’s commonwealth’s attorney, to investigate McDonnell’s financial disclosures for possible violations. Last month Cuccinelli also asked Herring to look over his own disclosures. Herring, a Democrat, has been Richmond’s top prosecutor since 2006.
Anthony F. Troy: Last month Cuccinelli appointed him as outside counsel to represent McDonnell in Schneider’s embezzlement case. A Democrat, Troy served as Virginia’s attorney general from 1977-78 after Andrew Miller resigned to run for governor.
Gregory D. Underwood: Richmond Circuit Court Judge Margaret Spencer has named Norfolk’s commonwealth’s attorney as the new prosecutor in the chef’s case. The Democrat has been Norfolk’s top prosecutor since 2009.
Steven D. Benjamin: Schneider’s attorney, he has argued that Cuccinelli knew he had conflicts of interest months before the attorney general sought indictments against the chef and then sought to recuse himself from the case.
Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:00 am
Updated: 4:44 pm, Wed Jul 17, 2013.
At the direction of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Richmond’s top prosecutor has been investigating Gov. Bob McDonnell’s statements of economic interest since November for possible violations of disclosure laws.
In early November, Cuccinelli sent a letter to Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring, appointing him to review McDonnell’s statements. By law, elected officials are required to account for all gifts received in excess of $50.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:00 am.
Updated: 4:44 pm.