The former governor of Virginia, Robert McDonnell is facing sentencing for his part in accepting gifts, loans and other benefits from a businessman keen to promote his dietary supplement.
The disgraced governor could face as many as 12 years in prison for his willingness to receive the very generous gifts while his estranged wife is also facing jail time for her part.
Prosecutors are looking to send Robert McDonnell to prison for between 10 and 12 years following his conviction for accepting the gifts which was made in September. Now it is just up to the judge to determine exactly what the punishment should be for McDonnell and his estranged wife Maureen.
While the prosecution is pushing for jail time, the lawyers for the former governor are looking instead to secure a punishment of 6,000 hours of community service to be served to spare him the ordeal of a prison term.
Robert McDonnell is the first Virginia governor convicted of taking a bribe and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond.
According to a report by Reuters, a jury found McDonnell, 60, guilty of 11 charges of public corruption. He and his wife were charged with receiving $177,000 in loans and gifts from dietary supplement entrepreneur Jonnie Williams Sr. in exchange for promoting his company’s main product, the anti-inflammatory Anatabloc.
In seeking a community service sentence, defence lawyer Jonathan Berry has argued that McDonnell has suffered enough. McDonnell, who also served as Virginia attorney general, cannot practice law, his political career is dead and his marriage has fallen apart, Berry wrote in a sentencing filing., according to Reuters.
As well as prison time or a community service punishment it is also likely that McDonnell will have to give up his state pension and will be forced to sell his family home while still remaining in debt.
According to Reuters, sixty percent of adults from Virginia believe that McDonnell should go to prison, according to a poll in October by the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies.
The trial of the former governor revealed rifts in the marriage of the couple and gripped the state as details emerged of gifts being given to the couple including a $6,500 Rolex watch, wedding and engagement presents, money for McDonnell’s daughters, and golf outings and equipment.
Reuters added that Williams provided a $50,000 loan and a $15,000 “gift” to cover wedding expenses. He also gave a $70,000 loan to a corporation that the governor and his sister used to manage beach properties.
While Robert McDonnell will know his fate shortly his estranged wife Maureen will have to wait until February 20 for her sentence to be given.
Both Robert and Maureen McDonnell have said that they will appeal against the convictions.