Former Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and his wife Maureen sobbed in federal court when a jury convicted them Thursday of corruption following a five week trial that at times resembled a TV soap opera.
On its third day of deliberations, the seven-man and five-woman jury convicted the former Republican star of 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery, and extortion.
His wife, who Bob and his lawyers portrayed during the trial as mentally unstable and flirtatious, was convicted on nine counts.
The jury acquitted the former first couple of making false statements on loan applications. It also acquitted the former first lady of obstructing a grand jury investigation.
The couple’s five adult children were in the courtroom, sitting behind their parents, when the verdicts were read out.
Virginia law required disclosure of the $177,000 in cash, loans, gifts Jonnie Williams, who ran a nutritional supplements business, but didn’t prohibit the McDonnells from accepting them.
But ten days after his term ended, McDonnell and his wife were charged in a 14-count federal indictment for public corruption.
The DOJ said the McDonnells attempted to conceal what they received from Williams and Star “to hide the nature and scope of their dealings . . . from the citizens of Virginia.” Evidence showed that the McDonnells routed “things of value through family members and corporate entities controlled by the former governor to avoid annual disclosure requirements,” the DOJ said Thursday.
Williams was given immunity and testified for the prosecution.
The former governor said on the witness stand that he and his wife, both 60, couldn’t have been in a criminal conspiracy because their 38-year marriage was so bad they hardly talked to each other.
McDonnell, once viewed as a potential Republican presidential candidate, was governor of Virginia for four years until early 2014.
During his testimony, he admitted accepting gifts and favors from Williams, including golf outings, a Rolex watch, vacations, and private plane rides. McDonnell testified that he knew his wife took a $50,000 loan from Williams. He said despite the cash and gifts, Williams’s company, Star Scientific, didn’t receive special treatment.
Bob McDonnell was convicted of three counts of honest-services wire fraud and six counts of obtaining property under color of official right.
Maureen was convicted on two of the three honest services wire fraud counts and five of the six counts of obtaining property under color of official right.
She was also was convicted of one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
They each face up to 20 years in prison.
The DOJ also asked for forfeiture of property worth $140,000, including multiple pairs of Louis Vuitton shoes, two sets of golf clubs, two iPhones, and a Rolex watch engraved with “71st Governor of Virginia.”
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.