The former governor of the Old Dominion, who was just a step away from being the most powerful man in the world, is about to go away for a long time.
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was found guilty of 11 charges including conspiracy, bribery, and extortion. His wife, Maureen McDonnell, was found guilty of nine federal charges, including a conviction on obstructing a grand jury investigation. Both were acquitted of making false statements on loan documents, though they face many years in prison.
In a trial that lasted five weeks, jurors were introduced to a wealth of testimony, including how Jonnie Williams, former CEO of Star Scientific (a dietary supplement company based in Glen Allen, Virginia) showered the estranged couple with a number of gifts in exchange for high access. This included thousands of dollars on vacations, including a trip to Cape Cod, and a $20,000 shopping spree as well as access to a Ferrari. Williams also gave the former governor a custom-engraved Rolex watch and paid over $25,000 for the catering of his daughters’ weddings. He resigned his post last year.
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McDonnell is both the first Virginia governor to be charged and convicted of a crime. Sentencing for he and his wife is slated to take place on January 6 at 10 AM ET. They both face mandatory prison sentences, with the maximum for each corruption charge 20 years. Family members and friends have the opportunity to write the judge and ask for leniency.
This is the crescendo of a soap opera that started in January, when the former first couple of Virginia were indicted only ten days after McDonnell left office. McDonnell told reporters, “All I can say is my trust remains in the Lord.” His attorney, Hank Asbill, told the same reporters that he intends to appeal the ruling.
Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), McDonnell’s successor, released a statement shortly after the verdict was read.
I am deeply saddened by the events of the trial that ended in today’s verdict, and the impact it has had on our Commonwealth’s reputation for honesty and clean government. Dorothy and I will continue to pray for the McDonnell family and for everyone who was affected by this trial.
McDonnell was on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.
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Photo: Huffington Post
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