Sunday, April 14, 2024

Federal Judges Uphold McDonnell’s Conviction

Bob McDonnell
Former Gov. Bob McDonnell

A trio of federal judges have denied an appeal of the conviction of former Gov. Bob McDonnell on 11 federal corruption charges.

The decision was announced Friday. McDonnell, who was convicted in U.S. District court in September of accepting more than $170,000 in gifts from the owner of a pharmaceutical company, appealed the district court decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

McDonnell challenged several parts of his trial and conviction, including the instructions given to his jury and whether the evidence against him was sufficient to convict. His attorneys also argued he should have been tried separately from his wife, who was also found guilty of eight federal corruption charges.

“Upon consideration of each Appellant’s contentions, we conclude that the jury’s verdict must stand and that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” according to the appeals court decision.

The trio of judges agreed McDonnell received a fair trial and that the “evidence established that [McDonnell] received money, loans, favors, and gifts from [StarScientific CEO Johnnie Williams] in exchange for official acts to help Williams secure independent testing [of a StarScientific product with state resources],” the opinion read.

McDonnell was sentenced in January to two years in prison. McDonnell, along with his wife Maureen, were convicted of accepting gifts and loans from Williams. Federal prosecutors estimated the family received $177,000 in bribes.

“We are pleased with today’s ruling affirming the conviction of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell,” Eastern District of Virginia U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said in a news release.

Boente’s office handled the prosecution of the case against the McDonnells. The former governor can still file a request with the Supreme Court of the United States asking for a review of the case, but the court is not obligated to agree to such a request.

Maureen McDonnell was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

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