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Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams To Step Down Next Month

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The head of the dietary supplement maker at the heart of a political scandal involving Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to resign in December.

Star Scientific Inc. says CEO Jonnie Williams and president Paul Perito will step down after its shareholder meeting next month.

In a regulatory filing, the company based out of Glen Allen, Va., says Williams plans to continue as a non-executive employee for one year to help with patent prosecutions and new product development.

Star Scientific, which sells an anti-inflammatory supplement made from tobacco, known as Anatabloc, asked senior officials in the McDonnell administration to place the product on a list of items available to state employees on their health plan. A state-appointed lawyer investigated the matter and determined that request was denied.

But McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli accepted gifts from Williams that were not initially disclosed. The issue became a major scandal in Cuccinelli's campaign and sidelined the once-popular governor during the campaign.

State and federal investigators are still looking at whether Williams or his company received anything in return for loans and gifts he gave to McDonnell's family.

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