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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Found Guilty In Corruption Trial

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Found Guilty In Corruption Trial

By Timothy M. Phelps, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was convicted Thursday of doing favors for a Florida businessman in return for $177,000 in cash, loans, and gifts, according to media reports.

After 17 hours of deliberation, the jury of seven men and five women convicted Bob and Maureen McDonnell on multiple counts of corruption and conspiracy, rejecting a defense that at times made the five-week trial seem like a politics-themed soap opera.

McDonnell said he and his wife could not have conspired to defraud the citizens of Virginia because their marriage was in tatters, they barely talked and she was mentally unwell. Instead, she was said to be obsessed with the businessman, Jonnie Williams, a longtime purveyor of health supplements.

Jurors also rejected another key tenet of the defense argument. While McDonnell conceded that it had been unwise to accept gifts such as $19,000 in clothes for his wife, Maureen, a $6,500 watch and $25,000 in wedding presents for his daughters, his attorneys maintained that Williams got nothing of value in return other than a couple of meetings with state officials and two events to showcase his products at the governor’s mansion.

U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer’s instructions to the jury on this point are likely to be the focus of an appeal that legal commentators said might get a serious hearing from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond where the trial was held. Defense attorneys had maintained that McDonnell could be convicted only for performing “official acts” outlined in state laws or regulations, not sending emails or holding a reception on Williams’ behalf.

McDonnell, a Republican whose mantra of fiscal responsibility was mocked by prosecutors who depicted him juggling credit card debt and asking Williams for loans, was governor from 2010 until just before his indictment this year. Virginia governors are limited to a single term.

Previously he served as the state’s attorney general and as a state delegate.

This story has been updated.

AFP Photo/Alex Wong

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5 responses to “Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Found Guilty In Corruption Trial”

  1. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Uh…one shadow to this case is missing: the local millionaire. The millionaire didn’t know what he was handing to this VA Governor was a bribe? Another case where the missing party in the crime gets off scott free because he has money.

  2. Pamby50 says:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer family. He had a chance to save his wife from jail but he decided to throw her under the bus.

  3. WhutHeSaid says:

    Isn’t this Governor Ultrasound, who wanted to force women to endure vaginal probes against their will? Now he will get the chance to be on the business end of personal probing.

  4. Allan Richardson says:

    Since the rise of the “conservative” movement, the standard operating procedure for Republicans is to use lying, cheating, bullying, and suppression of votes from the “wrong” people to achieve their ACTUAL objectives, that is the objectives they are proud of. Sort of like stealing to stop crime, lying for the truth, etc. Is it any surprise when they decide to take a little for themselves also? Like the old time privateers, private ship owners licensed by their ruler to capture or sink enemy warships and keep the booty from their battles; some of them started attacking ANY ships they wanted, and became pirates. And in politics, pirates can be identified because their names end in AAARRRGGGHHH!

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