Former VA governor McDonnell gets 2 years in prison

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, once a rising star in the GOP, was sentenced to 2 years in prison after being found guilty in September on 11 counts of corruption.

Most court watchers believe the judge showed extreme leniency to McDonnell in the case.

Politico:

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.”

McDonnell, who was once considered a potential presidential candidate, is expected to report for his sentence by 2 p.m. on Feb. 9. But his lawyers, who had pushed for 6,000 hours of community service instead of incarceration, hope to keep him out of prison as they pursue an appeal. Still, the outcome Tuesday was far better for McDonnell than had been expected.

Prosecutors were looking for 10-12 years in jail for McDonnell. His schemes to trade the favors of his office for about $165,000 worth of cash and gifts from a Richmond business associate constituted bribery, pure and simple.

But McDonnell mounted an effective letter writing campaign to the judge:

But the judge also weighed about 450 letters that poured in on McDonnell’s behalf, attesting to his character and his desire to serve. Letter after letter specifically mentioned McDonnell’s willingness to comfort grieving people. As arguments drew to a close Tuesday, defense lawyer Henry Asbill read aloud a slew of the letters, appearing to choke up as he did so. Others in the audience clutched Kleenex, closed their eyes or wept audibly.

“The overall view of the defendant” that emerged in those letters, the judge said, is that “he’s a good, decent man. He’s done a lot of good. There’s no reason to doubt this.”

So he's a peach of a guy - he still enriched himself by using his office. That $165,000 didn't go to charity - it went into his pocket. That should have been the basis for the judge's decision, not some weepy letters from important people attesting to McDonnell's "character."

How good is a man's character who cheats the people he was sworn to serve?

 


 

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, once a rising star in the GOP, was sentenced to 2 years in prison after being found guilty in September on 11 counts of corruption.

Most court watchers believe the judge showed extreme leniency to McDonnell in the case.

Politico:

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.”

McDonnell, who was once considered a potential presidential candidate, is expected to report for his sentence by 2 p.m. on Feb. 9. But his lawyers, who had pushed for 6,000 hours of community service instead of incarceration, hope to keep him out of prison as they pursue an appeal. Still, the outcome Tuesday was far better for McDonnell than had been expected.

Prosecutors were looking for 10-12 years in jail for McDonnell. His schemes to trade the favors of his office for about $165,000 worth of cash and gifts from a Richmond business associate constituted bribery, pure and simple.

But McDonnell mounted an effective letter writing campaign to the judge:

But the judge also weighed about 450 letters that poured in on McDonnell’s behalf, attesting to his character and his desire to serve. Letter after letter specifically mentioned McDonnell’s willingness to comfort grieving people. As arguments drew to a close Tuesday, defense lawyer Henry Asbill read aloud a slew of the letters, appearing to choke up as he did so. Others in the audience clutched Kleenex, closed their eyes or wept audibly.

“The overall view of the defendant” that emerged in those letters, the judge said, is that “he’s a good, decent man. He’s done a lot of good. There’s no reason to doubt this.”

So he's a peach of a guy - he still enriched himself by using his office. That $165,000 didn't go to charity - it went into his pocket. That should have been the basis for the judge's decision, not some weepy letters from important people attesting to McDonnell's "character."

How good is a man's character who cheats the people he was sworn to serve?