Former Va. Gov. Robert McDonnell to be sentenced in January

By Frances Burns  |  Sept. 5, 2014 at 11:27 AM
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RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on corruption charges in January.

But the actual sentences McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, receive are likely to be much shorter under complicated federal sentencing guidelines. U.S. District Judge James Spenser scheduled sentencing for Jan. 6.

McDonnell became the first Virginia governor to be convicted of a felony Thursday when jurors found him guilty of 11 of 13 corruption and conspiracy counts. His wife was convicted of a total of nine counts, including one of obstruction of justice.

Lawyers for both plan to appeal.

"We're very disappointed, but we're not deterred," said Hank Asbill, one of McDonnell's lawyers. "This fight is a long way from over."

Prosecutors said the couple accepted loans and high-end gifts like a Rolex watch and designer clothes from Jonnie Williams Sr., former chief executive of Star Scientific, in return for promoting one of his products. Williams testified against the McDonnells under a grant of immunity.

McDonnell, testifying in his own defense during the six-week trial, suggested his marriage was coming apart during his years as governor. He denied any agreement with Williams.

Jurors, who began deliberations Tuesday, apparently did not believe McDonnell's story that any agreement Williams had was with his wife. Maureen McDonnell was not a public official, so the jury had to find that she conspired with her husband.

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