‘Mr. Cucci-Cucci?’: McDonnell Witness Disses Former VA Attorney General

AP

During Friday testimony in Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife’s federal corruption case, a light moment came at the expense of the state’s former attorney general and defeated gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli.

Defense attorneys were questioning Paul Perito, the former board chairman of the dietary supplements company at the heart of the McDonnells’ gifts scandal, about correspondence between he and former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Williams had written to Perito mentioning two senior Virginia officials involved in negotiating tobacco commission funding for their product — could those two officials have been Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli, the defense asked?

Here’s how Perito responded, according to The Washington Post:

“Mr. Cucci-cucci?” Perito responded, tripping over the name. “Cateregli?” he tried again, referring to an Italian doctor who did research on Star’s product.

Asbill tried again, “Cuccinelli? I don’t know a Mr. Cuccinelli,” Perito said.

“Oh!” he said then, as if just understanding the question. “You’re talking about the former attorney general? No. He was talking about your client and your client’s wife.”

The Post noted that Perito and the defense attorney, Henry Asbill, were friendly and that Perito may have been “playing a bit” with Asbill.

Cuccinelli, who lost the Virginia gubernatorial race to Terry McAuliffe (D) in November, also had received thousands of dollars in gifts from Williams and Star Scientific. Some of those gifts were not originally disclosed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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