One of the character witnesses at Tuesday’s sentencing trial for former Governor Bob McDonnell was Virginia House of Representatives Speaker Bill Howell who stood up for his friend and fellow Republican. Washington Post reporter Matthew Zapotosky, who was in the courthouse in Richmond, noted the Speaker’s defense of McDonnell:
Speaker of the Virginia House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) has told Judge James Spencer that the trial and conviction of former governor Bob McDonnell has already served as a significant deterrent to other state lawmakers who might be tempted to break the law.
He said both caucuses of both chambers of the legislature have had “people” (FBI agents, presumably) brief them on the trial’s lessons. As a result, he said, legislators were especially concerned to “dot all their i’s and cross all their t’s.”
He noted that the legislature has already enhanced state ethics laws as a result of McDonnell’s actions and is likely to stiffen those laws when the annual legislative session opens next week.