Emails from 2011 show that university researchers believed they had Gov. Bob McDonnell's support for obtaining money from a state trust fund to bankroll studies for a nutritional supplement maker that's now at the center of an investigation into its ties to the governor.
Federal investigators are looking into whether McDonnell took steps to aid Star Scientific or its chief executive, Jonnie Williams Sr., in exchange for more than $145,000 in gifts and loans Williams gave to the first family.
Emails obtained through open records requests show researchers were aware of the relationship and were under the impression the governor wanted to tap tobacco funds for such research.
The tobacco money ended up not being sought.
A spokesman for the governor says he never asked anyone to assist the company get tobacco funds.