Virginia’s Ex-Governor Is Now a Felon

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell returns with family members, including his son Bobby (right), to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Sept. 4 in RichmondBloomberg – by Joshua Green

Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell was going to emerge from his bribery and corruption trial as either a convicted felon or a clueless, neglectful husband who didn’t realize a rich political donor was lavishing expensive, illegal gifts on his out-of-control wife. Either way, his political future was doomed. This afternoon a jury decided it: convicted felon.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted on multiple counts of “conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud, honest-services wire fraud, conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, and obtaining the property under color of official right.” The five-week trial in U.S. District Court in Richmond found that the two traded political influence for loans and gifts from a dietary supplement magnate, Jonnie Williams, valued at more than $170,000.  

What stood out in the trial was both the tackiness of the McDonnells’ behavior—zipping around in a Ferrari, flashing bling (like this $6,500 Rolex), begging Williams to buy Maureen an Oscar de la Renta gown—and Bob McDonnell’s singularly unchivalrous defense, which amounted to calling his own wife a greedy nut job, albeit one who had technically not violated any laws.

McDonnell’s fall was dramatic and precipitous. As recently as last year, he was still being promoted as a possible 2016 Republican presidential contender. Instead, he’s facing up to 30 years in prison—although his lawyer, Henry Asbill, told the New York Times that McDonnell will appeal the verdict.

One thought on “Virginia’s Ex-Governor Is Now a Felon

  1. “Virginia’s Ex-Governor Is Now a Felon”

    Very misleading title. It left out one very important word…
    “This afternoon a jury decided it: convicted felon.”

    Considering ALL politicians are felons, the distinction is necessary.

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