Virginia ex-governor faces sentencing on corruption charges

Virginia ex-governor faces sentencing on corruption charges

Virginia ex-governor faces sentencing on corruption charges

Written by Bella Dalima

06 Jan, 2015 | 4:44 pm

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell could be sentenced on Tuesday to as much as 12 years in prison for accepting sweetheart loans and lavish gifts from a businessman seeking to promote his dietary supplement.

Prosecutors are seeking 10 to 12 years in prison for McDonnell, who was convicted in September along with his estranged wife, Maureen, in a trial that laid bare rifts in their marriage.

Attorneys for the former Republican governor want him to serve 6,000 hours of community service rather than go to prison.

McDonnell, the first Virginia governor convicted of taking a bribe, will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond.

A jury found McDonnell, 60, guilty of 11 charges of public corruption. He and his wife were charged with receiving $177,000 in loans and gifts from dietary supplement entrepreneur Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for promoting his company’s main product, the anti-inflammatory Anatabloc.

In seeking a community service sentence, defense lawyer Jonathan Berry has argued that McDonnell has suffered enough. McDonnell, who also served as Virginia attorney general, cannot practice law, his political career is dead and his marriage has fallen apart, Berry wrote in a sentencing filing.

During the five-week trial, prosecutors contended McDonnell and his wife conspired to use the governor’s office to boost Williams’ company, Star Scientific Inc, and Anatabloc.

Gifts to the couple included a $6,500 Rolex watch, wedding and engagement presents, money for McDonnell’s daughters, and golf outings and equipment.

Williams provided a $50,000 loan and a $15,000 “gift” to cover wedding expenses. He also gave a $70,000 loan to a corporation that the governor and his sister used to manage beach properties.

Maureen McDonnell, 60, was convicted of nine counts, but Spencer dismissed the obstruction of justice charge last month. He ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove she intended to block a grand jury.

The former first lady is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20. Attorneys for the couple have said they will appeal the convictions.




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