Former Virginia Governor Sentenced to Two Years in Prison in Corruption Case After Prosecutors Recommend Ten Years
A federal judge sentenced former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell to 24 months in prison in early January 2015, after a jury convicted him on multiple counts alleging official corruption. United States v. McDonnell, No. 3:14-cr-00012, am. judgment (E.D. Va., Jan. 13, 2015). The defendant was charged in connection with his and his wife's alleged acceptance of gifts and other items of value from a businessman while he was in office. After the jury rendered a guilty verdict on all but two counts, the federal government recommended a prison sentence of at least 10 years under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG).
Prosecutors charged the defendant and his wife in January 2014 with multiple counts, including honest-services wire fraud, obtaining property under color of official right, and false statements. They alleged that the defendants accepted approximately $177,000 in gifts and loans from a Richmond businessman in exchange for using the governor's office to help the businessman's dietary-supplement company. Prior to the indictment, the former governor had reportedly rejected a plea deal for one felony charge of making a false statement on a loan document, which would have carried a maximum of three years in prison, and no charges for his wife. The case went to trial against both defendants in July 2014 and lasted five weeks.
In early September 2014, the jury convicted the defendant of 11 charges: one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1349; three counts of honest-services wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1343; one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, 18 U.S.C. § 1951; and six counts of obtaining property under color of official right. It acquitted him on two counts of false statements, 18 U.S.C. § 1014. The defendant's wife was convicted on eight counts.