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Maureen McDonnell has been sentenced to one year and one day in jail for her part in a corruption case, a court has ruled on February 20.

Virginia’s former First Lady was convicted, alongside her husband Bob McDonnell, for taking more than $165,000 in exchange for promoting a vitamin firm.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was sentenced in January to two years in prison.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell remain free pending an appeal against their convictions.


In court, Maureen McDonnell apologized to her family and Virginians, saying said she takes full responsibility for her mistakes.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“I would ask in your sentence today that you consider the punishment I’ve already received,” she said.

“My marriage is broken, my family is hurting and my reputation is in shatters.”

The six-week trial exposed the McDonnell family’s strained marriage and shaky finances.

Jurors heard the former governor was in financial need and traded on his position to win gifts of travel and cash from Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie Williams, in exchange for promoting his company’s nutritional supplements.

Jonnie Williams testified, under immunity, that Maureen McDonnell asked him for money and to pay for high-end shopping trips, offering to connect him to the governor in return.

Defense lawyers argued the McDonnells could not have conspired to extract bribes from Jonnie Williams because they were barely communicating.

Prosecutors had requested an 18-month prison term, while the defense requested 4,000 hours of community service and probation.

On February 20, Judge James Spencer called the case “puzzling and bizarre”.

He said there appeared to be two versions of Maureen McDonnell – a loving mother and devoted wife but also the first lady “who belittled and terrorized employees” at the Virginia executive mansion.

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Maureen McDonnell, the wife of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, could become the first modern-day governor’s spouse sent to prison for felonies she was convicted of committing while she held the mostly ceremonial position.

Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced on February 20 in US District Court on eight public corruption counts.

Federal prosecutors have recommended an 18-month prison term – six months less than Bob McDonnell got when he was convicted on 11 counts last month. Maureen McDonnell’s attorneys are asking for probation and 4,000 hours of community service.

Photo AP

Photo AP

More than a century ago, a former West Virginia first lady was acquitted more on charges of forging her first husband’s signature. None, however, has confronted the prospect of a prison term for a felony conviction.

More recently, former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, faced questions over whether she was personally enriched by the relationship. Neither has been charged.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell were convicted in September 2014 of doing favors for the CEO of a nutritional supplements company in exchange for $165,000 in gifts and loans.

Maureen McDonnell’s lawyers said in court papers that she was never comfortable in the role of first lady, and she cracked under the pressure and the fear of letting her husband down.

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Bob McDonnell has been sentenced to two years in jail for public corruption.

The 60-year-old ex-Virginia governor was convicted on 11 charges in September 2014, including wire fraud and receiving property based on his official duties.

Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of 10 years while Bob McDonnell’s defense asked the judge for community service.

The six-week trial exposed the McDonnell family’s strained marriage and shaky finances.

Bob McDonnell’s wife, Maureen, was also found guilty in September of eight charges. She will be sentenced in February.

The couple accepted $165,000 in gifts and loans, including a Rolex watch, designer clothing and vacations in exchange for promoting Star Scientific, a vitamin company, and doing favors for its chief executive, Jonnie Williams.

Jonnie Williams testified under immunity as the prosecution’s star witness.

On January 6, Bob McDonnell, once a rising star of the Republican party, told the judge ahead of sentencing he was “a heartbroken and humbled man”.

“I allowed my life to get way out of balance,” he said.

However, outside of court, Bob McDonnell said he still disagreed with the verdict and his defense would be appealing his conviction.

The former governor did not react when the judge handed down the sentence.

Bob McDonnell must report to prison by February 9.

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Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, have been found guilty of corruption.

Bob McDonnell, who left office in January 2014, was once a rising star of the Republican Party.

A federal jury concluded that he and his wife – who say they are now estranged – used his office to endorse the dietary supplements of a businessman in return for lavish gifts and loans.

They will be sentenced on January 6.

Bob McDonnell, 60, was convicted on 11 charges, including wire fraud and receiving property based on his official duties.

Maureen McDonnell, 60, was found guilty on nine of the charges.

They were both found not guilty of falsifying financial statements.

Both bowed their heads and wept as the jury delivered their verdicts of guilty.

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, have been found guilty of corruption

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, have been found guilty of corruption (photo AP)

Although the McDonnells can appeal, they could face years in prison.

“This is a difficult and disappointing day for the commonwealth and its citizens,” said the US Attorney for Virginia’s Eastern District, Dana Boente, outside the courthouse in the state capital Richmond.

“Public service frequently requires sacrifice and almost always requires financial sacrifice.”

Bob McDonnell was once considered a possible running mate for presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

But earlier this year he and his wife were charged with doing favors for a wealthy vitamin executive, Jonnie Williams, in return for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

Prosecutors say Bob McDonnell was in financial need and traded on his position to win gifts of travel and cash from Jonnie Williams, for whom he arranged meetings with state officials.

His defense team argued Bob McDonnell’s marriage was frayed and he was hardly on speaking terms with his wife who had a “crush” on Jonnie Williams and had accepted gifts from him.

Bob McDonnell had apologized for his own “bad judgment” and said he regretted accepting the gifts and loans, but stressed he paid it all back with interest and broke no laws.

The governor left office in disgrace in January at the end of his term.

Virginia governors are barred from running for a second consecutive term, and Bob McDonnell was succeeded by Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

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Jonnie R. Williams, the key witness in a corruption trial of ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, has testified the former first lady sought gifts and loans in return for help with his business.

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams gave Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts and loans totaling $165,000 (£97,000).

Bob McDonnell denies wrongdoing. His wife says their marriage was frayed and she had a “crush” on Jonnie Williams.

On Thursday, Jonnie Williams said buying gifts for the couple was poor judgment.

Jonnie Williams, the head of a vitamin supplements company called Star Scientific, said buying a $6,000 Rolex watch on the request of Maureen McDonnell was “a bad decision on my part”.

“I shouldn’t have had to buy things like that to get the help I needed,” Jonnie Williams told jurors as they inspected the watch in question.

He also denied being friends with the McDonnells.

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams gave Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts and loans totaling $165,000

Prosecutors say Jonnie Williams gave Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts and loans totaling $165,000

Prosecutors say Bob McDonnell was in financial need and traded on his position to win gifts of travel and cash from Jonnie Williams, for whom he arranged meetings with state officials.

However, Bob McDonnell argues he was only doing for Jonnie Williams what he would for any Virginia businessman.

On Wednesday, Jonnie Williams testified Maureen McDonnell asked him for money and to pay for high-end shopping trips, offering to connect him to the governor in return.

Jonnie Williams, to whom prosecutors have granted immunity, said he insisted on speaking to the governor before giving her any cash, and testified that the governor subsequently thanked him for his generosity.

As his testimony resumed on Thursday, the chief executive said he refused some of Maureen McDonnell’s requests because he believed they would be too visible – including vehicles for two of Bob McDonnell’s children and purchasing the couple’s money-losing rental properties.

Jonnie Williams also said he decided against a secret stock transfer to Bob McDonnell because he could not have hid the transaction from US regulators.

Bob McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party with aspirations for national office, left office in disgrace in January at the end of his term. Virginia governors are barred from running for a second consecutive term, and he was succeeded by Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

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