She also asked to be placed on Star's corporate board, according to the company's former board chairman. That would have allowed her to draw a small pay check.
Friday was the 10th day in
The McDonnells are accussed of taking Williams' money and swapping it for their support of Star Scientific's lead product: Anatabloc. They say they were just promoting a
The stock was risky. Star was bringing the dietary supplement called Anatabloc to market, but didn't have the clinical trials lined up that it takes market such a product as a drug.
Drugs are typically more profitable than supplements, and that's something Williams, now the U.S. government's star witness against the McDonnells, wanted the governor's help with.
She lost roughly half her investment in the sale, but bought the stock back in January. Sometimes people do this for tax purposes -- taking a loss at year's end, then buying the stock back weeks later. But that's not what the first lady asked to do, Piscitelli said.
She was looking for ways to keep the stock, but not have it in her name, Piscitelli said. When that failed, she told him to sell, and sell before year's end. The governor, and other state officials, must disclose family stock holdings of
Earlier that year, Piscitelli had a conference call with both McDonnells, he testified. They said they needed to borrow money and wanted him to determine whether Star Scientific could transfer stock into an account, then have Piscitelli's firm lend money against it.
The McDonnell defense repeatedly noted that Piscitelli had no way of knowing whether the governor knew about
Williams testified earlier in this case that he proposed the stock loan to avoid giving the McDonnell's cash, as he had already done once. In the end the plan was abandoned, and Williams simply wrote the McDonnells another check, he said.
Dry asked Piscitelli if he was relieved the deal didn't go through.
"Relieved is a good word, yes," he replied.
Friday also brought testimony from
Perito told prosecutors that he knew that the governor didn't control the state universities Star Scientific wanted to study Anatabloc, or the state tobacco commission that the company hoped would fund the project.
But "even though he doesn't control it, he could directly impact it," Perito testified. And the first couple could give Anatabloc "gravitas" as Star pitched doctors to recommend the product to their patients.
The plan seemed to be going well, he said. After an
Then Williams approached Perito about adding
"I thought it was one of the worst ideas I had ever heard," Perito testified.
Perito also testified about the day Williams called to tell him investigators were asking questions. That, Perito said, was when he learned Williams had been writing the first family five-figure checks.
"He told me that he had written some checks to the governor," said Perito. "He told me that he had made some purchases. I just stopped him. I was breathless."
"(Williams) was sobbing," Perito said.
In addition to being a former prosecutor and a Nixon-era
Williams and Perito are both named in at least one pending lawsuit against Star Scientific, brought by investors who say they were lied to about the company's prospects.
Perito told Asbill he couldn't say how much money he and Williams made off Star Scientific without reviewing corporate filings. Asbill suggested that Perito and Williams never intended to put Anatabloc through the
Perito denied this. He and Williams have both said they wanted
Perito also acknowledged Friday that what he knows about Williams' dealings with the McDonnells comes largely from Williams himself, and that Williams kept many things hidden before the federal investigation became public.
And when Asbill asked Perito whether he knew that the
"No," he said.
Perito also was asked about a Star Scientific press release he approved in 2013, after news of the McDonnell investigation broke. Star said it hadn't sought or received any special treatment from the governor.
"I was not uncomfortable with the statement at that time," Perito said.
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