Court blocks former Virginia GOP governor’s bid to stay out of prison
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday denied a request by former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell to remain out of prison while he appeals his corruption convictions to the Supreme Court.
McDonnell, a one-time rising star in the Republican party, and his wife were convicted in September of taking $177,000 in gifts and loans from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting one of his company’s dietary supplements.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied McDonnell’s request in a one-paragraph ruling that did not make clear when the former governor would be required to begin serving the two-year sentence he received at the end of his trial.
The same appeals court earlier this month had denied McDonnell’s appeal of his conviction.
Lawyers for McDonnell, the first Virginia governor to be convicted on criminal charges, had argued that he did not represent a flight risk or threat to public safety and thus did not need to be imprisoned.
Maureen McDonnell was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and has also been free pending appeal.
The state’s attorney general, a Democrat, ruled last month that McDonnell could be stripped of his pension benefits as a result of the conviction under a law that McDonnell signed during his time in office.