Only Two Years for McDonnell

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, convicted by a jury on multiple counts of corruption and accepting what amounted to kickbacks, got an unusually and unexpectedly light sentence of two years in prison and two years probation on Tuesday. Despite that, he still plans to appeal the guilty verdict.

Bob McDonnell pleaded with the court for mercy. In the end, the judge showed him some.

The former Virginia governor was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison, followed by two years of probation, after being convicted of multiple counts of public corruption. The sentence was significantly less than what prosecutors had requested and what most observers had expected, and the Republican’s supporters were visibly shocked and delighted. People who had braced themselves for a prison sentence of closer to 10 years, and had sobbed throughout the proceedings, turned to one another with looks of stunned relief when the decision came down.

But the one-time rising GOP star — who called himself a “humbled man” and even asked Judge James R. Spencer to show mercy on his estranged wife, Maureen, when she is sentenced in the same case next month — made clear afterward that he would appeal the original guilty verdicts.

“I want to thank the court and Judge Spencer for the mercy he dispensed to me today,” McDonnell told reporters in a brief statement outside the courthouse. “I also want to say that I disagree with the verdict that was rendered by the jury in this case and we intend to file our appeal to the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Given how utterly ridiculous their defense strategy was at the trial — he claimed that it was all his wife’s fault and that they hated each other so much that they couldn’t possibly have colluded on corruption — it’s hard to imagine that his lawyers really think they can win an appeal. His wife was convicted as well but has not yet been sentenced.

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  • sundoga

    Never underestimate the stupidity of a defendent.

  • eric

    But the one-time rising GOP star — who called himself a “humbled man” and even asked Judge James R. Spencer to show mercy on his estranged wife, Maureen, when she is sentenced in the same case next month…

    I’m guessing it was more like just taking one last opportunity to throw her under the bus. As in “and please Judge, I ask you to be merciful on my ex-wife, the real culprit, when you sentence her next month for all the bad things she did but which i had nothing to do with.”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I can’t believe he got punished at all. Using your position to get free shit is what government is for.

  • acroyear

    The judge claimed McDonnell’s military service record was one reason for the leniency. I call bullshit.

    It is the same if they say “he must be a good person, he goes to church”. The reality is that if the person served in the military, or goes to church, and still breaks the law for their own benefit, then the obvious fact is that neither the military nor religion did anything to actually change this person’s character or greed.

    If religion or military really helped people in such a manner regarding morality, they wouldn’t be breaking the law in the first place.

  • cptdoom

    I’m guessing it was more like just taking one last opportunity to throw her under the bus.

    According to other reports I’ve read, the couple’s children all wrote character letters to the judge on their father’s behalf, and blamed their mother as well. Lovely family.

  • karmacat

    If he were really humble, he would have accepted the prison sentence.

  • Alverant

    If he appeals and found guilty, could he get more than 2 years?

  • http://mostlyrational.net tacitus

    The real tragedy is not that McDonnell’s sentence is too short, it’s that it is too short in comparison with average sentence length in America, which has become a major contributor to the USA’s insurmountable lead as the incarceration champion of the free world.

  • davex

    From http://norml.org/laws/item/virginia-penalties-2 it looks like the judge thinks this governor-level white-collar corruption is less serious than growing a plant.

    I wonder about McDonnell’s record of clemency, pardons, and executions when he was in a position to control them.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    tacitus “The real tragedy is not that McDonnell’s sentence is too short…”

    Wrong. He’s a part of the Meritocracy. He earned that short sentence.

     

    “…it’s that it is too short in comparison with average sentence length in America, which has become a major contributor to the USA’s insurmountable lead as the incarceration champion of the free world.”

    Exactly. The USA is a World Leader.

  • Trebuchet

    …he claimed that it was all his wife’s fault and that they hated each other so much that they couldn’t possibly have colluded on corruption…

    Pat Robertson agrees. Apparently McDonnell is just like Adam.

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-bob-mcdonnell-adam-was-seduced-woman-corruption

  • sailor1031

    Too bad it’s not Saudi Arabia; he could get time for failing to control his wife.

    Defence strategy was bad but given the open-and-shut nature of the case against the McDonnells it was about all they had. IMO the whole scam was a family plot, to which Maureen was party, to try to salvage Bob’s political chances. Before all this he was being touted as vice-presidential material.

    As a Virginia resident watching this kabuki play out over these many months I’m not surprised that he only got two years. In the republican party that should be easy for Bob to be rehabilitated within a few years. IIRC Maureen already has a deal where the prosecution won’t ask for jail time for her. It would not surprise me to read some fine day in the Richmond Times-Disgrace that Maureen and Bob are reconciled and are planning to renew their vows as soon as he has time off from his new job as senator for Virginia.

  • 12ab

    With 11 felony convictions I don’t believe that he will be eligible to hold any public office in Virginia. Also, I think that he has lost all claims to any retirement funds based on the legislation that he implemented and passed regarding convictions of those holding public office in Virginia. On the other hand, I don’t think that he will have any difficulty in making a lot of money when this is over. Pat Robertson has already said that he is “holding a faculty position for McDonnell” when he completes his prison sentence. He is a declared evangelical and I am sure that he will rake in tons of money when he takes his Jesus Road Show to the evangelicals at their various gatherings and church services. He and his wife will conduct seminars on how Jesus restored their broken marriage and how he (Jesus) can do it for others as well. The money will pour in and she can then live the luxurious life that she aspired to before his political career came to an end.

  • sailor1031

    Let’s hope you are right about his political future but I’m not as optimistic about Virginia voters as you are. I know several people around this part of rural Virginia that think McDonnell was railroaded by a malevolent federal government in order to destroy a doGly republican star. OTOH those people would vote for my cat as long as she was a republican. I’m thinking he’ll be back sooner or later. And I agree that doG will help them repair their marriage and it will be guaranteed stronger than it was before they “hated each other”.

    Incidentally, if Maureen hated Bob so much why did she expend so much energy to get Williams to cough up a Rolex for Bob’s birthday? ah, so many questions…….

  • 12ab

    sailor1031:

    Had a conversation yesterday with a Virginia attorney (at the gym working out) who claimed to have some contact with McDonnell’s defense team. This attorney said that the defense had a couple of “trump cards” that had not yet been played and that there was a strong belief that the conviction would ultimately be vacated. Commented further that if the state justice system had been the deciding force that nothing would have come of the charges. For me it’s a far stretch to believe that the conviction will be vacated; however, I would never have believed that the sentencing guidelines would have moved from 10- 12 years to 6 to 8 years and then result in a 2 year sentence! Virginia politics and the Virginia justice system are known to be corrupt and now it appears that the “good old boys and girls” from Virginia have quite a bit of impact and influence on the federal system.