Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, once a rising figure in the Republican Party, will spend two years in federal prison for public corruption convictions. He’s the first Virginia governor ever convicted of a crime, Bloomberg reported.
“I stand before you as a heartbroken and humbled man,” McDonnell, 60, reportedly told U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer before his sentencing Tuesday morning in a Richmond courtroom, according to CNN. McDonnell was convicted in September on 11 felony public corruption charges. His family reportedly accepted about $177,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams, including shopping trips and vacations, in exchange for assisting Williams with his dietary supplement business called Antabloc, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
Defense attorney John Brownlee argued the former governor never knew Williams footed the bills and his wife Maureen, who had a “crush” on the Richmond businessman, was the lead culprit. “We believe that these things were kept from Mr. McDonnell – at least the source who paid for them,” Brownlee reportedly said in court, adding that the former governor only received about $69,000 in inappropriate gifts, CNN reported
The trial revealed a broken down marriage between McDonnell and his wife, according to the Washington Post. “Jonnie Williams was larger than life to Maureen McDonnell,” William Burk, Maureen’s lead defense attorney, reportedly said in July. “But unlike the other man in her life, Jonnie Williams paid attention to Maureen McDonnell.”
Maureen was also convicted on eight federal public corruption charges and faces sentencing Feb. 20. McDonnell will start his two-year prison term Feb. 9, followed by two years of supervised release and must pay $1,100 in fines. His attorneys are expected to appeal the sentence, CNN reported.
The once-popular Virginia governor was on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate in 2012, according to the New York Times. McDonnell was also considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate by leaders of the Republican Party, according to CNN.