The six-minute exchange
Now, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dry has hit Robert F. McDonnell with perhaps the most potentially damaging fact of the whole case: The six-minute e-mail.
Just before midnight on Feb. 16, 2012, McDonnell wrote an e-mail to businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. about a loan. Six minutes later, just after midnight, McDonnell wrote an e-mail to top aide Jasen Eige asking him to “pls see me” about “Anatabloc issues” UVa. and VCU. That’s the product made by Williams’s company that the businessman wanted studied at public universities.
“This is one of five e-mails I sent that night,” McDonnell said.
“Right,” Dry said with sarcasm.
“At this point, you know that Mr. Williams wants your assistance in getting UVa. and VCU” to study the product?
McDonnell insisted that was not correct. But Dry pointed out Williams sent a letter in June 2011 outlining his desired studies.
“You don’t understand that he is trying to get this studied and he wants your help?”
“That’s not what the June 16 letter said,” McDonnell insisted, describing as a proposal similar to hundreds of others he received. “He never asked me for help with UVa and VCU.”
Dry noted that McDonnell also said on Monday that he had posed with products for companies “hundreds of times.”
How many of those hundreds of proposals or pictures were affiliated with businessmen with whom he was negotiating a $50,000 loan?
“None,” McDonnell conceded.
“Any of them affiliated with people who gave $20,000 to MoBo?” Dry asked, referring to a later loan Williams had provided . “None,” McDonnell said.
Or provided thousands of dollars in golf? “None,” he said.
“So, you didn’t see Mr. Williams as unique?” Dry said, his voice reaching a new level of incredulity.
“Mr. Dry, if you’re suggesting that I got a $50,000 loan for MoBo in order to get Mr. Williams’s calls returned, you’re completely mistaken,” McDonnell said, his voice also rising.
Then Dry noted that Eige served as legal counsel to the governor, but McDonnell never told him about the personal financial discussions with the businessman. Didn’t McDonnell think the loan negotiations would be relevant to Eige during a conversation about studies Williams wanted at public universities?
“To ask him to get a phone call returned, which I had done thousands of times? It’s basic constituent service,” McDonnell said. “No sir.”