Jury Finds Former Gov. Bob McDonnell Guilty of Corruption
A jury found former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell guilty of 11 counts of corruption, including "conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud," on Thursday. He faces up to 30 years in prison and 13 criminal counts, but will not receive his sentence until January 6.
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were charged with giving political favors to a wealthy Richmond businessman in exchange for extravagant gifts. Maureen was found guilty on eight counts of corruption, as well as obstruction of justice. Neither of the defendants were found guilty on charges of falsifying loan documents.
"The McDonnell family is sobbing in the courtroom," The Washington Post reported. McDonnell's defense attorney, Hank Asbill, has said they will appeal the charges, according to WUSA.
The businessman, Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, allegedly treated the couple to vacations, luxury shopping trips, a $50,000 loan, catering for the McDonnells' daughter's wedding, rides in Williams' Ferrari, and in the governor's case, a personally engraved $6,000 Rolex watch.
In exchange, a Virginia Cabinet member testified that Williams was given unusual access to the governor's office. Star Scientific, the company led by Williams, manufactures dietary supplements. In June—perhaps in reaction to bad press—the company decided to change its name to Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals.
McDonnell is the first Virginia governor to face corruption charges. He joins a pantheon of governors—mostly from Illinois—who have been recently convicted on corruption charges. In 2011, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 counts of corruption. Blagojevich is currently serving a 14-year sentence in a federal prison in Colorado.
"Dorothy and I will continue to pray for the McDonnell family and for everyone who was affected by this trial," sitting Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement.
The allegations broke open in March of 2013, when the The Washington Post's Rosalind S. Helderman and Laura Vozzella first reported on the $15,000 Williams spent to cater the McDonnells' daughter's wedding—a gift that McDonnell neglected to disclose at the time.
The jury deliberated for 17 hours over the course of three days. (The Post has a breakdown of all the counts here.) Federal prosecutors initially offered McDonnell a plea deal, which would have convicted McDonnell on just one count of felony fraud and avoided any charges for his wife. McDonnell rejected the offer.