VA Attorney General cleared in Richmond investigation

Published: Jul. 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring has concluded Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did not break the law when he failed to disclose thousands of dollars in gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

The ruling ends the first of two major investigations, that will have a major impact on the 2013 race for Governor.

"I appreciate the work of the Virginia State Police and Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring to provide an independent, impartial review of my financial disclosures," said Cuccinelli in a statement. "This review vindicates what I have said all along.  There was no legal requirement to refer my own filings to a commonwealth's attorney to review, but I did it because I wanted to be completely transparent with the public."

Cuccinelli, a Republican asked Herring, a Democrat, to independently analyze his conduct after the Attorney General revealed he had forgot to report sizable gifts from Williams on two different occasions.

Williams has become the main figure at the center of an enormous scandal enveloping Richmond that stems from the Commonwealth's lax laws when it comes to elected officials receiving gifts.

Governor Bob McDonnell is the main fixture in that controversy, but Cuccinelli has also received plane rides, vacation stays and supplements from Williams. He has also been questioned for a fortuitous short term investment in Star stock.

Herring, in a nine-page report, spells out in specifics what aspects of the law he was asked to look into and compared his findings to what he learned about Cuccinelli's conduct. Based on that analysis, the prosecutor plainly states that Cuccinelli is not guilty of anything.

"As of this date, July 18, 2013, our investigation finds no evidence that the Attorney General, in violation of the Act or any other law, received any payments, loans, or negotiable tender of any type from any reportable person or entity, including Johnny Williams and Star Scientific," writes Herring.

For more on the investigation and to read Herring's report visit

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