Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Found Guilty of Corruption

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell leaves a federal court in Richmond on Thursday. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell leaves a federal court in Richmond on Thursday. Steve Helber / AP

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 faced 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.

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. The allegations broke open in March of 2013, when 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. 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.

Read more at National Journal ...


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