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Analyst: Ex-Exec's Testimony Attempts To Humanize Jonnie Williams

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In Virginia, a close associate to businessman Jonnie Williams is adding dimension to the relationship between him and former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell.

Paul Perito, a former executive of Star Scientific, testified that he would have stopped Jonnie Williams' gift-giving if he had known about it at the time. On the stand today, Perito recalled how Williams called him sobbing after federal and state investigators first interviewed him.

"They want to rehabilitate Jonnie Willaims a little bit," says Rich Kelsey, assistant dean of the George Mason Law School. He says prosecutors called Perito to the stand in an attempt to humanize the government's star witness, who has been granted immunity for his testimony. "They want to make him look like he undertook some activities he regrets. That he's a little more human than this guy who was just trying to ruthlessly buy access."

Perito also testified that he intervened to prevent Maureen McDonnell from taking a high-paying position on the corporate board of Star Scientific, the nutritional supplement company that was seeking scientific studies from the government.


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