Friday, September 5, 2014

Exhibit A on Why Corrupt Politicians Should Take the Plea Deal

Per WSJ: RICHMOND, Va.—A jury found former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of a slate of public-corruption charges on Thursday, rejecting the couple's defense that their marriage was too broken for them to conspire and that they didn't accept lavish gifts in exchange for backing a wealthy donor's business.
Mr. McDonnell broke down in tears and covered his face with his hands as the verdict was read. The former Republican governor was convicted on 11 conspiracy-related counts. Mrs. McDonnell maintained her composure, but appeared to battle tears as she learned that the jury found her guilty on nine counts, including conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Mr. and Mrs. McDonnell had both pleaded not guilty to the 14 charges they faced. They were acquitted of making false statements on bank-loan applications and Mrs. McDonnell was found not guilty of charges related to accepting golf games and gear, among other things.
The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about 48 hours after hearing testimony for more than a month in federal court, not far from the governor's mansion where the couple lived from 2010 through January.
Mr. and Mrs. McDonnell, who have five children and are both 60 years old, are expected to be sentenced Jan. 6 by Judge James R. Spencer. They face lengthy prison terms and hefty fines.
With their verdict, jurors accepted the prosecution's argument that the McDonnellswrongfully used their position to promote a company, then known as Star Scientific Inc., by arranging meetings for founder Jonnie Williams Sr. with state officials and hosting events at the governor's mansion.
The prosecution showed jurors a golf bag and a pile of designer clothes that were among $177,000 in loans and gifts from Mr. Williams to the McDonnells. They displayed photos of Mr. McDonnell—the former state attorney general and a onetime GOP presidential hopeful—wearing a Rolex from Mr. Williams and driving the businessman's Ferrari.
"The high-end car and fancy watch literally surrounded Gov. McDonnell," said Hampton Dellinger, a law professor who has been following the case. "He was sitting in the car, he had the watch on his wrist and he couldn't distance himself" from the prosecution's claims.
Mr. McDonnell testified that he made the same type of introductions for Mr. Williams as he would for any Virginia businessman and he had done nothing wrong.
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