Tag Archives: Maureen McDonnell

LTE: Judicial proceedings flawed in Bob McDonnell case

By Donald Laslie

[This letter to the editor was submitted to the Richmond Times-Dispatch by the author.]

To the Editor:

I’d like to publicly acknowledge the request for prayer and support from our former governor, Bob McDonnell, who is nearing the end of his appeals process.

I’ve never met the man. But what has happened to him has prompted me to passionately defend this public servant against a judicial proceeding that was clearly flawed. I am not alone in my firm belief that a travesty of justice, substantial federal overreach, no less, has occurred against not a criminal, but a strategic political target.

So, Bob and Maureen, you are both in my thoughts and prayers as you complete this arduous journey. May the Good Lord continue to clothe you with His grace and comfort. And may you know the support and concern of those around you.

“America! America!
God mend thine every flaw!
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!”


Donald Laslie
Powhatan, Va.

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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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Prosecutors want 18 months for Maureen McDonnell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

With former Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell scheduled for sentencing on February 20, federal prosecutors are asking for her to serve 18 months while her lawyers are asking for community service (see Prosecutors seek 18-month sentence for Maureen McDonnell):

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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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Speaker Howell reacts to McDonnell verdict, stands by his friend

Bob McDonnellBy Lynn R. Mitchell

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.
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Did judge in McDonnell trial have conflict of interest?

Bob McDonnell 10

Governor Bob McDonnell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Many have commented that Judge James Spencer, the Federal judge who presided over Bob and Maureen McDonnell’s trial, ruled almost exclusively against the Governor before, during, and after the trial.

Now we learn that in 1997, McDonnell voted against the judge’s wife when she was nominated to the Virginia Supreme Court (see Should McDonnell have asked for a different judge? by Will Houp at WAVY TV-10).

Would that be a huge conflict of interest?

WAVY TV asked the question, “Should McDonnell have asked for a different judge?”

Good question. Reporter Will Houp investigated the matter:

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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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Defending Bob McDonnell … will federal government now go on a witch hunt for others?

Bob McDonnell 10By Lynn R. Mitchell

The stunned shock when former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted on questionable federal fraud charges turned into disbelief and concern from his supporters and even some of his adversaries.

Those concerns were addressed Sunday in an article by Bob Rayner in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (see After the verdict: More indictments?):

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PTSD and the McDonnell Verdict

Daniel Cortez 2Electing Veterans To Office A Liability?

By Daniel P. Cortez

As an independent media political operative, I spent more time observing former Governor Bob McDonnell than most folks.  As a veteran, I considered him a friend.

Reading the guilty verdict of McDonnell and his wife Maureen brought reflections of firsthand accounts that things were badly askew with Virginia’s then-first family in spite of what I may have wanted for the family of the Commonwealth’s chief executive.

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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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Day 25 … @BobMcDonnell: Closing arguments to begin

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Day 25 … @BobMcDonnell  #standwithbob  #prayforvictory

Closing arguments set to begin in McDonnells’ trial by Matt Zapotosky, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Mary Pat Flaherty with the Washington Post.

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In the words of Fr. Wayne, the McDonnells’ priest

Bob McDonnell 1 halloween 2013

Governor McDonnell greeted trick-or-treaters in his office.

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Bob and Maureen McDonnell are on trial. Most of the media have made it a point to present it in the worst light possible. The former governor and first lady have had their private lives splashed across headlines from coast to coast, and some have gloated at the sordid details emerging from the case.

One conservative noted on her Facebook page, “the latest chapter of the soap opera,” and then wrote about the McDonnells living apart. Newspapers have spent time parsing words and publishing opinions, mostly unflattering.
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Day 16 … @BobMcDonnell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Day 16 … @BobMcDonnell  #standwithbob   #prayforvictory

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Bob McDonnell: An officer and a gentleman

Bob McDonnell 10By Lynn R. Mitchell

As the trial continues in Richmond with federal prosecutors pursuing questionable charges against former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, it’s important to remember that in this country everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It’s also important to remember we have heard one side of the story up to this point.

An incident with the Governor on Tuesday passed along from reporter Parker Slaybaugh from Richmond’s WRIC TV-8 showed the Bob McDonnell most have known and admired for years. It so impressed Slaybaugh that he wrote about it on his Facebook page:

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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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