Jonnie Williams, protected with blanket immunity by the federal prosecutors in their quest to bring down someone who at one time was the most popular governor in America, has come across to many as a snake oil salesman. Remember those traveling quacks in the Wild West who offered their bottles of elixir that could cure everything from a hang-nail to pneumonia? Williams’ Antabloc sounds like a modern day version.
The Washington Post, covering the trial taking place in Richmond that accuses former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, of wrong-doing, pointed out the obvious (see Government’s key witness against McDonnells is an irrepressible salesman):
Even as the former Star Scientific executive said he’d been wrong to shower gifts on the McDonnells, he spoke in glowing terms about the tobacco-based pill he’d invented. He said it would revolutionize medicine as antibiotics once had. That he’d used it to cure his wife’s serious thyroid disorder. And that he’d discovered a way to remove carcinogens from tobacco using his home microwave.
Williams, 59, was a former car salesman and possesses no medical or science degree. The WaPost noted there was “a risk that jurors will see him as a snake oil salesman, one who duped the McDonnells and is lying now to save his own skin.”
And then there’s this:
Defense attorneys have tried to convey to jurors that Williams has given conflicting stories about whether his gifts were explicitly tied to promised help from the McDonnells. They argue that he is testifying only because he has immunity from a laundry list of possible charges, including what defense attorneys have characterized as a $10 million stock fraud.
It sounds as if he may have done a whole lot more than just hawk snake oil but what does he have to fear? He has complete immunity. Can anyone believe a word he says?