Ex-Virginia gov, wife guilty of public corruption
RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were convicted Thursday of using his office to promote a dietary supplement in exchange for gifts in a public corruption case that derailed the career of a onetime rising Republican star.
A federal jury convicted Bob McDonnell of 11 of the 13 counts he faced; Maureen McDonnell was convicted of nine of the 13 counts she had faced. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 6. Both bowed their heads and wept as a chorus of “guilty” kept coming from the court clerk.
Widely considered a possible running mate for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign, McDonnell was reduced to living with the family’s priest in a church rectory during the trial. Now he and his wife face up to 20 years in prison for each conspiracy, fraud and bribery conviction.
The couple left the courtroom separately and remained apart. Bob McDonnell left first and walked into a witness waiting room; Maureen McDonnell came out later, hugging one of her daughters while weeping loudly. She went into a separate waiting room.
The couple was charged with doing favors for a wealthy vitamin executive in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans. They also were charged with submitting fraudulent bank loan applications, and Maureen McDonnell was charged with one count of obstruction.
The trial was a sensation in political circles in Washington, just over the Virginia state line, as lawyers for McDonnell and his wife provided intimate details of the breakdown of their marriage in hopes of convincing jurors that they could not have conspired because they were barely speaking.
“This is a difficult and disappointing day for the commonwealth and its citizens. Public service frequently requires sacrifice and almost always requires financial sacrifice,” said Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia.
The former governor testified in his own defense, insisting that he provided nothing more than routine political courtesies to former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Maureen McDonnell did not testify.