Former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted of charges of bribery, conspiracy and extortion in September of this year. Following a lengthy federal trial, McDonnell was found guilty on 11 counts while his wife was convicted on nine.
As is customary in these kinds of corruption cases, the Justice Department seems intent on making examples of the McDonnells. Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell made the following statement on Thursday:
In pursuit of a lifestyle that they could ill afford, McDonnell and his wife eagerly accepted luxury items, designer clothes, free vacations and the businessman’s offer to pay the costs of their daughter’s wedding. In return, McDonnell put the weight of the governor’s mansion behind the businessman’s corporate interests. The former governor was elected to serve the people of Virginia, but his corrupt actions instead betrayed them. Today’s convictions should send a message that corruption in any form, at any level of government, will not be tolerated.
WDBJ7 reports that “the judge in Bob McDonnell’s corruption trial will let defense lawyers go long when they file a brief before next month’s sentencing hearing. McDonnell’s attorneys said they need 50 pages to make their case, rather than the usual 30.”
WDBJ7 spoke with Paul Goldman, a Richmond lawyer and political strategist who attended the entire trial, and he tells them that McDonnell is unlikely to win an appeal or avoid serving “significant prison time.”
“I don’t take any pleasure in saying that, but there seems to be some in his camp who think he’s going to get a slap on the wrist. And that’s not going to happen, ” Goldman told WDBJ7. “He will have to do some significant prison time. And it’s a tragedy, really.”