Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Virginia State News

July 15, 2014

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell defense fund raises $93K

RICHMOND, Va. — The legal defense fund for former Gov. Bob McDonnell reported raising $93,000 during the second quarter of this year, bringing its total haul to more than $250,000.

The fund’s quarterly report to the IRS was made public Tuesday, as McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were in federal court at a pre-trial motion hearing.

The former Republican governor and Maureen are set to go to trial later this month on corruption charges. Prosecutors say the couple accepted more than $165,000 worth of gifts and loans from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for helping to promote the company’s dietary supplement.

The McDonnells have pleaded not guilty, and their supporters have rallied to help cover their legal bills. The fund was created last year.

Recent large donors to the fund include Virginia Republican state Sen. Jeffrey L. McWaters; businessman and frequent Republican donor William B. Holtzman, who is the father of state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel; and Teri M. Rigell, the wife of Virginia Beach Republican Congressman Scott Rigell.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gave the fund $10,000 earlier this year.

The fund reported spending more than $170,000, mostly to the couple’s attorneys. In April, one of the fund’s organizers, attorney Stanley F. Baldwin, sent out an email to supporters saying the trial alone is expected to cost more than $1 million.

Recent pre-trial hearings have helped illustrate why the defense costs are so high.

On Tuesday, prosecutors and McDonnell’s attorney’s sparred over whether forensic accountant J. Allen Kosowsky could testify as an expert witness. The defense said Kosowsky is needed to testify that the McDonnell’s finances were sound, and they were not “desperate” to take Williams’ money. Prosecutors said the jury did not need Kosowsky to assess the McDonnell’s financial situation.

The defense also wants Kosowsky to testify about what the financial impact was on Star Scientific and Williams when the federal government asked for a delay in two shareholder lawsuits. Star Scientific has been renamed Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals.

Kosowsky said he has spent about 100 or more hours working for the McDonnells, and he normally charges $575 an hour. He said he is giving the former governor a discounted rate of about $400 an hour.

The McDonnells have also hired attorney Peter H. White to serve as an expert witness who would testify that Williams would reap substantial benefits from the delay of the lawsuits. White said at a hearing last week that he charges more than $900 an hour.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer said he will try and rule on whether Kosowsky and White can testify, as well as other pre-trial motions by Wednesday.


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