Maureen is sentenced, remains free on appeal

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Bill McKelway and Graham Moomaw with the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Maureen McDonnell’s sentence from court Friday in Richmond:

Former first lady Maureen McDonnell was sentenced Friday to 12 months and 1 day in prison on federal corruption charges. U.S. Judge James R. Spencer also ordered two years supervised probation and allowed her to remain free pending appeal.

The sentencing came after an emotional hearing of more than three hours capped by the testimony of a visibly emotional McDonnell, making her first extensive comments on her case, and preceded by her daughter, Rachel, who told of the hurt and division the scandal had brought upon the her parents and the five children.

Maureen McDonnell riveted the courtroom when she said the “venom” from benefactor-turned-prosecution witness Jonnie R. Williams Sr. had “poisoned” her family, marriage and the state, resulting in the historic trial on accusations of trading access to the governor’s office for gifts, loans and favors.

The Governor was in the courtroom, according to McKelway and Moomaw, but did not address the court. However, Mrs. McDonnell spoke on her behalf, noting that, “We’re not ready for a second chance until we are broken”:

In her testimony, McDonnell choked up as she thanked Spencer for “showing mercy to my husband” and then said it’s true that she let the “serpent” into the mansion, acknowledging the judge’s much-publicized remark about Williams from Bob McDonnell’s sentencing.

“I am the one who opened the door and I blame no one but myself,” she said. “And the venom from that snake has poisoned my marriage, has poisoned my family and has poisoned the commonwealth that I love.”

She spoke for 10 minutes, pausing to hold back tears and to catch her breath

“It’s hard to imagine anything worse than what I’ve already been through,” she said, telling the court that she has not lost faith in her family and in the fact that “God is the God of second chances.

“We’re not ready for a second chance until we are broken,” she said.

“My frustration spilled over to those closest to me,” she said, touching on her difficulty in speaking publicly and handling the role of first lady. And she explained that she had not spoken out about her case on the advice of her legal team. “I have waited for a day like this when I can apologize and acknowledge the mistakes I’ve made.”

Mrs. McDonnell’s daughter, niece, and others were character witnesses during the three-hour sentencing portion of the trial. Read the entire article here.

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