Decades ago there was saying in Washington DC, “if you know you’re guilty hire Edward Bennett Williams“. Conversely when a person hired Edward Bennett Williams, people assumed he was guilty. Williams was the founding partner of the famous DC law firm, Williams and Connelly. He defended such people as Senator Joe McCarthy and Jimmy Hoffa. Williams also owned sports teams, including the Redskins and Orioles.
Last week we learned that a high powered, well known, Williams and Connelly partner, Emmet T. Flood, was hired by the Governor and met with him at the Governor’s mansion on Tuesday. Hiring Flood is the modern day equivalent to hiring Edward Bennet Williams. In a statement about their meeting McDonnell said, “Over the last couple months I’ve felt that given some of the things that were occurring with reviews being done on statements of mine, that it was proper for me to seek counsel.
“Emmet Flood is an attorney that’s advising me on things and I don’t think anybody should be surprised with that.” (I am surprised at the strange wording of the statement and have no idea what he’s trying to say.)
Mr. Flood defended Dick Cheney on behalf of the Bush White House when sued by Valerie Plame. Flood also represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings. McDonnell and Flood have been in consultation for months, despite the Governor’s office refusal to discuss it. At issue is not the $108,000 in cash and airfares that McDonnell supporter Jonnie Williams gave the Governor and his PAC. Mr. Williams is the CEO of Star Scientific, a former tobacco company that now makes dietary supplements. The company is under a federal securities investigation. Williams is also in litigation with the state of Virginia over a $700,000 tax dispute. Mr. William’s attorney is Jerry Kilgore. (Yes, THAT Jerry Kilgore, former Virginia Attorney General and candidate for Governor. Things just get curiousier and curiousier.)
At issue is other ‘gifts’ that Mr. Williams gave the McDonnell family and the lack of reporting of these gifts. Williams paid for the McDonnell daughter’s wedding reception at the Governor’s mansion in 2011. He paid for Maureen McDonnell’s shopping spree in New York which included a $10,000 jacket, several pairs of designer shoes and handbags, and a designer dress. Mr. Williams also provided a Rolex watch that was given to the Governor by his wife. Williams lent the McDonnell family his vacation home for their personal use. He may also have helped pay for the McDonnell family to attend the Final Four basketball tournament in 2011. A federal grand jury and been convened and is now investigating these gifts. The jury is expected to begin taking testimony from witnesses next week.
Governor McDonnell has maintained that Mr. Williams has been given no special treatment by the state.
Although this had nothing to do with Mr. Williams, Maureen McDonnell was hired as a consultant to the United Company and paid $36,000 for a few days work. This was not reported because she was made a trustee. Perhaps more maneuvering around the law? That story here.
Much more here and here and here. It’s now very obvious why the Governor felt it necessary to hire the someone of the stature of Emmet T. Flood. When you care enough to hire the very best, you turn to Williams and Connelly and Emmet Flood.
UPDATE: The Governor has also hired former Virginia Attorney General Tony Troy. Mr. Troy has taken to leaving threatening emails to bloggers who dare to write that our Governor may be leaving office. That story here. It’s never a good idea to go after a blogger. It tends to anger them, and other bloggers. Why make unnecessary enemies in the blogging community? This could have been handled better.
UPDATE 2: This is indeed getting worse by the minute. More from BearingDrift.