#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – Dec.01 – A federal judge on Monday rejected a bid from former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, for a new trial or outright acquittal on public corruption charges, though he threw out the first lady’s conviction on an obstruction of justice charge Washington Post reported.
‘Governor Mc Donnell & Wife Found Guilty – Screenshot from 2014-12-01 21:38:33
The outcome was mostly an expected one; U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer had rejected similar arguments from the former first couple several times before.
The couple can — and very likely will — raise the same issues on appeal, but that won’t come until after they are sentenced early next year.
Spencer’s dismissal of the obstruction of justice charge against Maureen McDonnell was the only surprise, and its rationale is deep in the legal weeds of the case against the former first couple.
The judge ruled, essentially, that prosecutors did not prove sufficiently that Maureen McDonnell intended to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation into her and her husband’s public corruption — even though she took steps to throw off the investigation.
The McDonnells were convicted in September of public corruption after a jury decided unanimously that they lent the prestige of the governor’s office to Richmond businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in exchange for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods.
The McDonnells argued soon after that the guilty verdicts stemmed from “insufficient evidence” and “numerous legal errors during the proceedings” and asked Spencer to throw out their convictions — or at least order they be given a new trial.