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Jonnie Williams Granted "Blanket Immunity" in McDonnell Case - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Jonnie Williams Granted "Blanket Immunity" in McDonnell Case

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RICHMOND, Va (WVIR) -

There are new developments in the corruption case against former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen.

If found guilty, the McDonnells face decades behind bars - but the man who allegedly corrupted the couple has cut a rare deal to go free.

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams, CEO of Star Scientific, lavished gifts on the couple in return for political favors. However, because he is so important to prosecutors' case they have granted him "blanket" immunity.

That surprises former prosecutors like Charles James, Jr. of Williams Mullen.

“A number of other white collar practitioners have noted that in their 15, 20, 25 year careers they've never seen it or never used it in one of their cases, but suffice it to say it is exceedingly rare for a cooperating witness to get this sort of blanket immunity,” said James.

Williams will not face criminal charges for any of his actions related to the McDonnell case - including matters before the security and exchange commission.

James says the immunity may affect whether jurors believe Williams.

Trial is scheduled to begin on July 28.

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