Former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been found guilty on multiple counts of corruption, bribery, and conspiracy.
After three days of deliberations, the seven men and five women who heard weeks of gripping testimony about the McDonnells’ alleged misdeeds acquitted the couple of several charges pending against them–but nevertheless found that they lent the prestige of the governor’s office to Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in a nefarious exchange for his largesse. The verdict means that Robert McDonnell, who was already the first governor in Virginia history to be charged with a crime, now he holds an even more unwanted distinction: the first ever to be convicted of one. He and his wife face decades in federal prison, though their actual sentence will probably fall well short of that. The former governor was convicted of 11 corruption-related counts pending against him, though acquitted of lying on loan documents. The former first lady was convicted of eight corruption-related charges, along with obstruction of justice. Maureen McDonnell was acquitted of lying on a loan document.
Background from CBS News:
The McDonnells were indicted in January and charged with accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for promoting Williams’ anti-inflammatory vitamin supplement called Anatabloc. The jury reached the verdict after three days of deliberations. During the five-week trial, prosecutors sought to prove that that Bob McDonnell not only knew how much money Williams had lavished on the first family, but that he sought to convince state officials to conduct research that would have helped Williams’ business. The evidence prosecutors saw as most damaging was a pair of emails, sent six minutes part, in which Bob McDonnell wrote to Williams asking about documents that would have finalized a $50,000 loan, and then shortly after asked an aide to “see me about anatabloc issues” at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia.
Last week it was learned that McDonnell has left his wife and is now living with a Catholic priest who was once convicted for having sex with another man in the parking lot of a park. In one of his first acts after taking office, McDonnell stripped LGBT people from a statewide anti-discrimination executive order, declaring that there is no evidence of such discrimination.