Bob McDonnell found guilty: Former Virginia governor and his wife convicted on corruption charges

Sentencing for the couple has been set for 6 January 2015

The former governor of Virginia and his wife have been convicted on a string of corruption charges, after a federal jury found that they had accepted cash and gifts in return for political favours. Bob McDonnell, 60, once a rising star in the Republican political firmament, was convicted on 11 counts. His wife Maureen  was found guilty of eight charges of corruption, and of obstruction of justice.

The couple were accused of accepting some $177,000 (£108,000) from local businessman Johnnie Williams, in the form of loans and gifts including a $5,000 bottle of Cognac, designer dresses, a Rolex, and the use of his white Ferrari. Though Virginia law did not prevent them receiving the gifts, prosecutors said the couple then used their political clout to promote Anatabloc, an anti-inflammatory dietary supplement manufactured by Williams's firm, Star Scientific.

In 2012, the McDonnells hosted a luncheon to promote Anatabloc at the governor's mansion, and also allowed Mr Williams to influence the guest list at another reception for healthcare bosses. Mr McDonnell arranged meetings between Mr Williams and some state officials. In one instance, the then-governor sent an email to an aide about Anatabloc six minutes after speaking to Mr Williams about a $50,000 loan. Prosecutors said this demonstrated a clear and corrupt connection between Mr Williams's largesse and the McDonnells' support of his product.

The couple, who have five children, offered an unlikely defence, claiming they could not have engaged in the alleged conspiracy because the apparently perfect marriage they presented while in office had in fact been a sham, and Maureen McDonnell “hated” her husband. Their relationship was picked apart over dozens of hours of invasive testimony, which even included hints of an alleged affair between Mrs McDonnell and Mr Williams, whom Mrs McDonnell texted shortly after a minor earthquake in 2011, saying: “I just felt the earth move and I wasn't having sex!!!!”

Mr McDonnell reportedly broke down in tears as the verdicts were read, in a Richmond courthouse mere yards from the governor's mansion that he and his wife occupied until he left office in January 2014. Once tipped as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, Mr McDonnell was chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in 2010. The office of Virginia governor was once occupied by Thomas Jefferson; Mr McDonnell is its first holder ever to be convicted of a crime.

Sentencing for the couple was set for 6 January, 2015.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there