Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s defense against corruption charges may have been along the lines of “my wife made me do it.”
But that didn’t stop him from giving her a kiss on the cheek after he was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison.
“I’m a fallen human being. I’ve made mistakes in my life,” an unemotional McDonnell told reporters outside the Richmond, Virginia, courthouse.
Still, he vowed to appeal the verdict that convicted him – and, separately, his wife, Maureen – of corruption fraud and bribery in September.
The couple, whose dirty laundry was aired in court, has lived apart since their trial began last summer. Both were charged with taking thousands of dollars in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for using their positions to promote his dietary supplement company.
Maureen, whom McDonnell’s defense blamed for bringing Williams into the marriage and harboring a crush on him, arrived late – and by herself – to Tuesday’s sentencing hearing. Her husband’s defense attorney read from some of the approximately 450 letters sent to Judge James R. Spencer asking for mercy.
Spencer obliged – the two-year sentence was seen as lenient, considering McDonnell could have gotten eight years behind bars. The judge also warned that those blaming Maureen for her husband’s involvement are “dangerously delusional.”
“While Mrs. McDonnell may have allowed the serpent into the mansion, the governor knowingly let him into his personal and business affairs,” Spencer said. He ordered McDonnell to report to prison on Feb. 9.
When it was over, the former governor hugged his two sobbing grown daughters and gave Maureen a kiss on the cheek, according to a Washington Post report from inside the courtroom.
Maureen will be sentenced for her nine-count conviction on Feb. 20.