Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, could possibly face decades in prison after being convicted on conspiracy, fraud, and bribery charges in a Richmond, Virginia, courtroom this week.
McDonnell was found guilty on 11 counts and his wife was convicted in nine charges. A sentencing hearing for the two is scheduled for January 6 with each conviction carrying a penalty of up to 20 years for each count.
The charges arose from dealings with Star Scientific and their chief executive Jonnie Williams. Williams testified under immunity that he provided more than $170,000 in gifts and loans to the McDonnells in exchange for their help in promoting and obtaining research studies for Star’s products.
Friends and family members in the court began weeping after the jury announced the first guilty verdict. The crying became more intense with each successive guilty verdict.
An ashen Bob McDonnell, who also wept as the verdicts were read, was mobbed by TV cameras before being whisked from the federal courthouse in a blue Mercedes.
”All I can say is that my trust remains in the Lord,'' he said quietly.
Maureen McDonnell left separately without saying anything.
A family friend who visited the McDonnell home after the verdict expressed support for the former governor.
“He is a good man and Bob will rise again,” said a woman who only wanted to be identified as Terry.
The case now is in the hands of the federal probation office. They will be gathering information for a presentencing report to U.S. District Judge James Spencer before his January 6 sentencing hearing.
The attorneys for each McDonnell will get access to that report about a month before the hearing. They will be gathering letters of recommendations to present to the judge and raising any objections to the report before the sentencing hearing.
Legal experts believe, despite the possibility of a lengthy time in prison, that the two will receive greatly reduced sentences. said they would appeal the verdicts. However, the appeals process is likely to start after they have been sentenced.