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Former governor McDonnell and wife found guilty in corruption trial


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Former governor McDonnell and wife found guilty in corruption trial

By Mina Abgoon. CREATED Sep 4, 2014

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty on multiple counts in their corruption trial in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday afternoon.

“As 11 counts of 'guilty' were pronounced on counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion for Mr. McDonnell, he covered his face with his hands and his head fell nearly to the defense table. His wife, convicted on nine counts, looked straight ahead. There were sobs from the seats behind the couple that included their five adult children,” The New York Times reports.
The pair were indicted in January after accusations of doing “special favors” for the former CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific, Inc., Jonnie Williams. in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts and loans.
The trial, which took about five weeks, centered around testimonies from the former governor and Williams, who was “granted immunity for his dealings with the McDonnells and possible securities fraud violations, which had been investigated by a separate grand jury," according to NBC Washington.
Williams "testified that he spent lavishly on the McDonnells to secure their help promoting and obtaining state-backed research for Star Scientific's tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement, Anatabloc. Williams intended to share the results of that research with doctors to gain their support of the product," NBC Washington reports.
Among many other gifts detailed during the trial, “Testimony showed Williams loaned $50,000 to Maureen McDonnell that she used to pay down credit debt in 2011” and  “$15,000 in catering expenses when one of the McDonnells' daughters got married," according to NBC Washington.
Despite the defense’s attempt to play down the allegations, attributing them to political courtesy, bad judgment and a failing marriage, the McDonnells face up to 30 years in prison. Sentencing is set for early January, according to NBC Washington.
Mina Abgoon

Mina Abgoon

Mina Abgoon, a Vegas-based journalist, is a digital editor with Scripps' national content team.