RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell must report to prison by Feb. 9, a federal judge said Tuesday, denying him bail pending appeal.
McDonnell's lawyer, Henry Asbill, said he will ask the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to allow his client to remain free while his appeal is pending.
Andrew McBride, a former federal prosecutor, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that appeals courts rarely overrule federal judges on bail issues.
McDonnell was sentenced to two years last week for taking $177,000 from businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in the form of loans, travel and high-end clothing. In return, McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, who is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 20, allegedly agreed to promote a dietary supplement Williams' company, Star Scientific, was distributing.
In a three-page order, U.S. District Judge James Spencer said he does not believe McDonnell is likely to win an appeal, that the issues "do not present a 'close' call." Asbill must convince an appeals court that McDonnell is likely to win a reversal of his conviction in a higher court.
During their trial, McDonnell's lawyers tried to convince the jury that it was Maureen McDonnell who had a close relationship with Williams. That defense, if it had worked, could also have protected her since she did not hold an official position.