By Gary Robertson RICHMOND Va (Reuters) - The businessman at the heart of a corruption trial involving former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, testified on Wednesday he helped them out with gifts and loans strictly for the benefit of his dietary supplement company. "This was a business relationship," Jonnie Williams, a key prosecution witness told a packed federal courtroom in Richmond, Virginia. Williams said he took Maureen McDonnell on a $20,000 New York shopping spree, lent the couple large amounts of money, and paid for the wedding reception of one of their daughters in exchange for the couple using their personal and political prestige to advance his company. Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dry, Williams, who was granted immunity in return for his testimony, said the governor and his wife fully understood the arrangement they were in. McDonnell, 60, and his wife have pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of corruption and bribery for allegedly taking more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Williams in exchange for promoting his company, Star Scientific Inc, where he was then chief executive. The company has since changed its name to Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals. The McDonnells have contended in court filings there is no evidence they agreed to use their power to aid Williams. The former Republican governor, who left office in January at the end of his four-year term, had been mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate before the scandal erupted. If convicted, the couple face more than 20 years in prison and a large fine. During opening statements on Tuesday, the defense argued that Maureen McDonnell had a crush on Williams, saying Williams was known as "Maureen’s favorite playmate." The defense added that the McDonnells were incapable of carrying out a conspiracy because they were barely on speaking terms. Williams said on Wednesday, however, that he met with Maureen McDonnell at the governor’s mansion in May 2011, where she told him they did not have enough income from rental properties in Virginia Beach and that their credit cards were maxed out. "She became very emotional at that point," Williams said. He said Maureen McDonnell eventually told him she would help his company and she had the governor's approval to do it. She later asked him for a $50,000 loan and for $15,000 to pay for her daughter’s wedding reception, Williams said. He said he would agree only if her husband knew it. He testified that he later called the governor and told him about the money he was to provide. "He said, 'Thank you,'" Williams said. The trial is set to resume on Thursday with more testimony from Williams, where he is likely to undergo a withering cross-examination from defense attorneys for the McDonnells. (Editing by Curtis Skinner and Peter Cooney)
Meghan Markle threatened to break up with Prince Harry if he didn't release a statement confirming their relationship, report says
A source told the Times of London's Valentine Low that Harry was "freaking out" about the situation.
Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she will do "everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee."
- The Hill
Former top Pence aide: Trump claim that presidents can declassify docs by thinking about it ‘absurd’
Former top Pence aide Marc Short on Friday rejected a recent claim from former President Trump that presidents can declassify documents by thinking about it, calling the notion “absurd.” “That’s absurd, obviously,” Short told CBS News. “I think it would make it very difficult for the intelligence community to have a classification system if that was…
Trump said he could declassify documents with his mind, but he may have also accidentally admitted to taking them 'intentionally,' NYT reporter says
New York Times Correspondent Maggie Haberman said Trump may have deviated from the narrative that classified documents ended up at Mar-a-Lago accidentally.
Prince William and Kate Middleton realized they needed to 'up their game' after Meghan Markle's first royal engagement, according to a new book
According to Katie Nicholl's book "The New Royals," the Fab Four's relationship transitioned after Meghan Markle's first royal engagement in 2018.
- Boxing Junkie
Floyd Mayweather, 45 years young, knocked out MMA star Mikuru Asakura on Saturday (in the U.S.) in Japan.
After making several stunning appearances at New York Fashion Week, Amelia Gray Hamlin is now turning heads on the runways in Milan. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills daughter recently walked in Giuliano Calza’s GCDS show, where she bared her backside in an unexpected look. “My butt had her first cameo,” Amelia captioned a September 22 Instagram Story video of herself on the runway. While it initially appeared Amelia was modeling a white tank top and jeans, it turns out the pants only had fro
- Fox News
Prince William ‘simply can’t forgive’ Prince Harry for his behavior following royal exit, author claims
Vanity Fair's royal correspondent Katie Nicholl alleged that the Prince of Wales was hoping that his younger brother, the Duke of Sussex, would be "his wingman."
- Orlando Sentinel
Tropical Storm Ian grew overnight in the Caribbean still with a path that could bring it to Florida next week as a hurricane prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency across the Sunshine State. The National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. update puts Tropical Storm Ian’s center about 230 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica and about 430 miles southeast of Grand Cayman with maximum ...
- Business Insider
A man charged in the assault of a flight attendant on an American Airlines plane had to be restrained by fellow passengers and cuffed to a seat
Alexander Tung Cuu Le was arrested and later charged following the incident on a flight from Mexico to Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer says he did 'everything' he could to stop the overturning of Roe v. Wade
"Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course," Breyer said during an interview with CNN's Chris Wallace.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte & Prince Louis Are No Longer the Cambridge Kids—Here’s Why They Have a New Last Name
It appears that Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, are the Cambridge kids no longer. Recently, the trio's parents, Kate Middleton and Prince William, received new titles following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8. While at first the pair were named as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall, the new King Charles III then bestowed upon them the title of Prince and Princess of Wales. Chris Jackson/Getty Images In his first address as monarch, King
- USA TODAY
Denver Riggleman, a former adviser to the Jan. 6 committee told "60 Minutes" the White House switchboard called a rioter during breach.
- Fox News
Princess Diana’s and Meghan Markle’s differences in treatment of staff are ‘stark,’ royal expert says
Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle is facing criticism for the way she treated royal staff when living at the palace, in comparison to Princess Diana -- who was described as "kind."
Donald Trump will fight hard against Letitia James' lawsuit. Ex-AG insiders say these are his top 5 defenses.
Former NY AG prosecutors predict a slow-motion legal brawl where Trump will cry foul, claim ignorance, and delay, delay, delay.
- The Advocate
The former president malfunctioned at a campaign event in North Carolina.
Kanye West says he told his 9-year-old daughter North to 'never let anyone' take over his and Kim Kardashian's brands in the future
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, said that he counseled his daughter on being the steward of his and Kim Kardashian's businesses.
Prince William had a strong bond with his grandmother, who died on 8 September, and now he's shared the sweet moment that happened after her passing.
- The New Voice of Ukraine
The wife of a Donetsk puppet authority fighter told her husband that dissatisfaction with the actions of dictator Vladimir Putin is growing in Russia, according to an intercept of their conversation published on Facebook by Ukraine’s military intelligence agency HUR on Sept. 24.
- Fox News
Hells Angels funeral for Sonny Barger expected to draw thousands as sheriff warns of possible violence
Local law enforcement is warning about the possibility of violence at the Saturday funeral of Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger at the 99 Speedway in California.