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Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Awaits Sentencing

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell with his son Bobby in Richmond, Va.
Steve Helber AP
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell with his son Bobby in Richmond, Va.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer will sentence Bob McDonnell Tuesday morning after first hearing arguments from prosecuting and defense attorneys. Prosecutors are seeking at least 10 years and one month to as long as 12 years and seven months in prison for the acceptance of bribes totaling $177,000 while McDonnell was governor. McDonnell's attorneys are asking for community service rather than prison time.

Virginia's former governor and his wife, Maureen, were convicted in September of multiple counts of corruption stemming from a relationship with Jonnie Williams, the CEO of Star Scientific. The couple accepted money, expensive gifts and vacations from Williams in exchange for government favors as Williams sought to market his company's dietary supplements. The Washington Post listed several of the gifts, which included a Rolex watch, a shopping trip in New York City, wedding catering for the McDonnells' daughter Cailin and several golf outings for the couple's sons on a private jet.

Defense attorneys are arguing for a sentence of 6,000 hours of community service based on, among other things, McDonnell's service as Virginia governor and what they argued was his acceptance of responsibility for the offenses. The prosecution counters that McDonnell's case should serve as an example of political corruption and its consequences.


The Richmond Times Dispatch reported the defense submitted a 29-page memo asking that, if Spencer does impose jail time, the former governor be allowed to remain free pending an appeal.

Virginia Public Radio's Craig Carper told NPR's Newscast that more than 400 letters were written by McDonnell's family members, friends and supporters, as well as elected officials, asking Spencer for leniency.

Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced separately on February 20th.

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