RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. probation office involved in the case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, is recommending he serve at least 10 years in prison for corruption charges.
McDonnell and his wife Maureen were found guilty of conspiracy and corruption on Sept. 4 for doing favors for a Virginia businessman in exchange for at least $177,000 in loans and gifts.
Federal prosecutors said McDonnell and his wife used their status at the time to promote products for former CEO of Star Scientific, Jonnie Williams Sr.
The probation office is recommending a sentence ranging from 10 years and one month to 12 years and seven months.
The recommendation for his wife's sentence is expected to be less, and her sentencing takes place on Feb. 20.
"I think most people were thinking 10 to 12 years when they looked at the guidelines for public corruption," Andrew G. McBride, a defense lawyer, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I think there's also kind of a consensus that that's extremely high for the conduct involved here."
U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer will decide McDonnell's sentenc on Jan. 6, and he does not have to follow the recommendation. Judges in Spencer's district follow probation office recommendations roughy 70 percent of the time.