Tag Archives: Jonnie Williams

Will U.S. Supreme Court acquit former Governor Bob McDonnell?

Bob McDonnell

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Governor Bob McDonnell is going to Washington to seek justice. Specifically, he and his attorney are asking that he be cleared of the charges pursued by the federal government, noting that his conviction was … (see McDonnell formally asks Supreme Court to take up his case):

… the “first time in our history that a public official has been convicted of corruption despite never agreeing to put a thumb on the scales of any government decision.” They asserted, as they have throughout the case, that allowing McDonnell’s convictions to stand would make criminals out of virtually every politician and give prosecutors unchecked authority to decide which ones to target.

Meanwhile, Jonnie Williams still roams free, thanks to blanket immunity from the federal government in their witch hunt chasing after McDonnell who at that time was one of the most popular governors in the nation and extremely popular in Virginia, and whose name had been bantered about as a possible candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Shaun Kenney  has thoughts on this at Bearing Drift (see RTD: McDonnell formally asks SCOTUS to hear appeal):

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SCOTUS keeps McDonnell free during appeal as more question conviction

Bob McDonnellBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Good news was handed down Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Virginia’s former Governor Bob McDonnell would remain free as they decide whether to take up his case (see U.S. Supreme Court lets McDonnell stay free for now by Frank Green).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported:

In a one-paragraph order, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was ordered to hold off making its July 10 ruling upholding McDonnell’s 11 corruption convictions final, permitting McDonnell to remain on bond.

Should the justices not take the case, the stay ordered this afternoon will end automatically. If the court takes the case the stay will continue, the court ordered.

McDonnell’s lawyers made the request to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who referred the matter to the full court. McDonnell needed a majority vote for the stay – it is unclear if the full court voted – but only needs four votes for the court to agree to take up his appeal.

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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”:

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WAVY interviews Bob McDonnell’s sister

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s sister Maureen McDonnell, who happens to have the same name as his wife, talked candidly with WAVY TV-10 reporter Andy Fox about her brother’s legal issues (see Bob McDonnell’s sister opens up about trial, conviction).

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LTE: ‘Former governor did not receive a fair trial’

[Editor’s note: This letter to the editor appeared in the Progress-Index on December 31, 2014.]

As the sentencing date for former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s conviction on corruption charges approaches, one wonders “Did Gov. McDonnell receive a fair trial?” Consider:

During the Fourth of July weekend in 2013, a rumor surfaced that McDonnell was about to plead guilty and resign from office. Due to the holiday weekend, the rumor received wide publicity before it could be discredited. McDonnell’s image was severely tarnished and there were several calls for his resignation.

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Judge refuses to acquit or call for new trial for McDonnells

By Lynn R. Mitchell

[U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer] turned down the requests by former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife for acquittal or a new trial on corruption charges. In September a federal jury convicted Bob McDonnell on 11 of 13 counts and Maureen McDonnell on nine of 13.

The judge also threw out Maureen McDonnell’s obstruction of justice conviction saying “obstruction of justice requires more than a misleading note” (see Judge tosses out one of Maureen McDonnell’s convictions).

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‘Court of public opinion’ swings to Bob McDonnell’s favor

Bob McDonnell 11By Lynn R. Mitchell

As the trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and wife Maureen goes to the jury, my prayer is that the Governor is cleared of all charges and can try to resume and pick up the pieces of his life including his reputation.

Interestingly, as the weeks have dragged on with this trial, a number of Democratic friends have purposely sought me out to say they don’t think any quid pro quo was proven or that the governor did anything illegal, and they feel badly for him and his family because of all the sordid personal details that have been exposed.

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Politics: Friends, allies, and betrayals

By Lynn R. Mitchell

While reading the news wrap-ups this morning about Governor Bob McDonnell’s trial that is underway in Richmond, something he said struck a nerve with me. He noted that he had thought Jonnie Williams, who received blanket immunity from federal prosecutors and turned on the McDonnells, was a true friend.

I wrote on my Facebook status:

All of us have at least one “Jonnie Williams” in our lives — those people we trusted as friends who turned on us, plunging a knife deeply in our backs. They will live with the knowledge of that betrayal the rest of their lives. If you are lucky to have one true friend in politics, you are indeed lucky. They are rare.

In politics we have allies. They are with us until they aren’t. They aren’t our friends and will plunge a knife in our backs in a heartbeat to better their position, side with those in power at the time, or to climb on our backs to reach a higher rung on the ladder.

A true friend is a gift from God. Our job is to recognize them.

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Jonnie Williams, snake oil salesman

Snake oil salesmanBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Jonnie Williams, protected with blanket immunity by the federal prosecutors in their quest to bring down someone who at one time was the most popular governor in America, has come across to many as a snake oil salesman. Remember those traveling quacks in the Wild West who offered their bottles of elixir that could cure everything from a hang-nail to pneumonia? Williams’ Antabloc sounds like a modern day version.

The Washington Post, covering the trial taking place in Richmond that accuses former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, of wrong-doing, pointed out the obvious (see Government’s key witness against McDonnells is an irrepressible salesman):

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The sadness of seeing inside the McDonnells’ private lives

Bob McDonnell 10By Lynn R. Mitchell

With numerous news agencies covering the McDonnell trial that is currently taking place in downtown Richmond, and with a platoon of reporters sending out countless tweets, emails, blog updates, and articles about what’s taking place in the count room, this stood out to me (see A very sad day in court in Virginia by Peter Galuszka at the Washington Post):

One could get snarky about this seemingly over-the-top soap opera. But no one in the courtroom seemed to be smirking.

That seemed to say it all.

This is such a sad story to hear as the sordid details of the most private areas of our former governor’s life are splashed in headlines for all to see. It’s painful to those close to him and even for those who were not close personal friends but were political allies. It goes without saying it is painful for the McDonnells.

The gravity of the statement above is that others feel it, too — a quiet sadness and a little embarrassment. It’s as if we’ve accidentally overhead the most private of details while walking past a partially open door. It’s information we’re not supposed to know … details that are only for those who are closest to the family, not news copy to boost blog readership or newspaper circulations.

Continued thoughts and prayers go to the Governor and his family as this tale continues to be heard by those in the courtroom and beyond. @BobMcDonnell #standwithbob #prayforvictory

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Federal judge to McDonnell: No, no, no, and no

Bob McDonnell 10By Lynn R. Mitchell

It seems that every time I read the news, it’s another denial by the federal government of some request from former Governor Bob McDonnell’s defense regarding his upcoming trial to the point where I’m mentally keeping score and wondering, “What’s up?”

Jim Hoeft said what I’ve been thinking in his Tuesday morning update:

McDonnell still on defense: In other news, the federal prosecution continues to wrangle with the McDonnell defense team in advance of the July 28 trial for the embattled former governor.  Now, the prosecution is trying to deny the governor his expert witness testimony.  He was denied a delay to preliminary rulings.  Denied having the charges dropped.  Denied separate trials from his wife.  Denied his full request for communications between Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams and Maureen McDonnell’s then Chief of Staff Mary-Shea Sutherland.  At some point the governor has to win a few of these legal preliminaries, no?


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Judge denies McDonnell request for dismissal and separate trials, his lawyers prepare defense against the highly questionable charges

By Lynn R. Mitchell

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Motions denied: A federal court judge today denied a motion by former Gov. Bob McDonnell to separate his trial from that of his wife, Maureen. He also refused to throw out corruption charges against the McDonnells. That means the joint trial will go on on July 28.

It’s sad to see that this witch hunt has been allow to progress so far. To help with the governor’s defense, go to The Restoration Fund to donate. You will be joining other high-profile names like former Massachusetts Governor and U.S. President candidate Mitt Romney who gave $10,000. Every little bit helps.

Also check out these articles about the federal government and its pursuit of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey. While ignoring the bungling of Benghazi where Americans actually died, DoJ pursues high-ranking Republicans:

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