As reported, the wife of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Maureen McDonnell, was just sentenced to serve 12 months and one day for her part in a corruption scheme that also landed her husband in prison, although the prosecutor was pushing for 18 months.
Last September, the couple was convicted by a jury for doing special favors for Jonnie Williams, former CEO of Star Scientific in exchange for receiving low-interest loans and over $165,000 in gifts to include roughly $20,000 in accessories and designer clothing.
Williams had purchased the gifts for Maureen while on a shopping spree in Manhattan, New York. She also received an engraved Rolex watch valued at $6,500 that she gifted to her husband for Christmas. In addition, golf outings and vacations were paid for by Williams.
Lawyers working on behalf of Maureen had planned to argue that she received enough punishment from the public humiliation endured throughout the six-week trial. They also asked for probation and 4,000 hours of community city for their client.
However, Maureen she was sentenced on Friday on eight counts and whether please made by her attorneys will make any difference remains to be seen.. Last month, the former Governor was also sentenced, receiving two years. Currently, Bob McDonnell is out on bond while his convictions are under appeal to the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. That case is scheduled to be heard on May 12.
If Maureen ultimately serves time, she would be the first current-day wife of a Governor to be convicted of felonies and sentenced to prison while holding a highly-respected ceremonial position.
Fighting back tears, Maureen gave a statement in her defense, saying the “venom from that snake poisoned her marriage, her family, and the commonwealth she loves”, alluding to a statement made by the judge in her husband’s sentencing of allowing the “serpent” into the Executive Mansion.
At this time, Maureen’s legal team is working on an appeal. Her attorneys said in a statement that she is a good woman, followed by her issuing a genuine apology while admitting to have made mistakes.
Apparently, the appeals court has already identified some significant issues for Maureen’s appeal, some of which her attorneys say could overturn the verdict. For that reason, not only will an appeal be filed but those issues pursued with vigor. The lawyers added that they believe their client is 100% innocent.
According to close family members and friends, 2014 was the worst year of Maureen’s life. Both her parents passed away, her children all moved away from home, and she was dealing with menopause. That coupled with her feeling extremely uncomfortable with public speaking and feeling isolated in her role as the Governor’s wife took their toll.
However, one jury in Maureen’s trial felt strongly that she was involved in the corruption scheme and in fact, some jurors thought she was the catalyst behind everything. Just as prosecutors believe, so do many jurors that Maureen should not serve as much time as given because she was not an elected official or government employee like her husband.