So, the jury has convicted Bob McDonnell of 11 of 13 counts and Maureen of nine.

I’m stunned. The prosecution presented no evidence of quid pro quo, and evidence of a conspiracy struck me as weak and circumstantial. But I didn’t attend the trial, I didn’t hear the full testimony, and I didn’t get to appraise the veracity of the witnesses. I can’t help but wonder how much the judge’s instructions to the jury influenced the outcome but I’ll accept the fact that the jury reached the proper verdict.

While I did not regard the McDonnells’ behavior as illegal, I did view it as deplorable. Perhaps jurors were making a statement that they’re sick and tired of the way the political system works, and they’re not going to take it any more. Regardless, it can’t hurt to send a harsh message to the political class.

To borrow a phrase from Henry Howell, a populist Virginia politician of yore, “Keep the big boys honest.” Let’s follow up by fighting for greater transparency and tighter conflict-of-interest rules.


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9 responses to “Guilty!”

  1. billsblots Avatar

    “Instead, months later, authorities proposed that then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plead guilty to one felony fraud charge that had nothing to do with corruption in office and his wife would avoid charges altogether.
    McDonnell rejected the offer. Robert and Maureen McDonnell were jointly charged in January.”-

    “Thanks, jerk!” – Maureen

  2. billsblots Avatar

    Virginia Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) issued the following statement on the McDonnell verdict:

    “Virginia politics will be forever changed from this experience.”
    Good God it’s about time. I wish I knew he meant that in the same way that I do. He probably doesn’t.

  3. ” “People behind bars have civil rights. At the same time, we have a duty to promote public safety. If people show, even in prison, that they can’t get along with other prisoners, then they are treated accordingly.””

    I guess that means that Bob and Maureen won’t be in the same prison, eh?

    looks like the Jury didn’t like the “trash Maureen” defense, eh?

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    You’ll Accept” the verdict? Mighty gracious of you, Jimbo! I’m sure your readers really give a shit.

  5. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

    A just verdict. The very concept that they acquired a new best friend right after being elected, who paid thousands, is ridiculous. The quid pro quo may not have been explicit, as the Supreme Court apparently requires, but it was there, as common sense dictates.

    Oh, what happened to the famed values of Republicans/Conservatives? What kind of defense was that: my wife is a b*tch and I’m an incompetent husband!

    Lastly, just how efficient and capable are those captains of industry? That Williams fellow deserves less than minimum pay considering how little he got for the $177,000 or so he paid. The government bureaucrats I deal with are much smarter than that!

  6. NoVaShenandoah Avatar

    Saddest of all things, of course, is that McDonnell did not violate any of Virginia’s ethics laws!

  7. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    Did the crime, do the time. No sympathy from me.

    But how come no one ever faced any investigation over the financing of Dulles Rail, Phase 1 (and 2)?

  8. I really can’t understand Jim’s surprise. There were sufficient quid’s for the quos, however ineffective those actions were, to constitute guilt. That McDonnell applied astoundingly bad judgement in rejecting the relatively inconsequential felony count and chose to go through a trial and throw his wife under the bus suggests remarkable lack of self-esteem and inability to refute lousy legal advice. These deficiencies have nothing to do with the guilty judgement but everything to do with his competence. That we might see some reform in the “Virginia Way” remains a hope for local government as well as state government, however faint.

    1. mbaldwin put his/her finger on it: astoundingly bad judgement

      This is the Gov of Virginia and what the trial exposed more than anything else is – “astoundingly bad judgement”

      the jury did not excuse Maureen either but when you hear people say it’s a shame because he was such a good, “effective” Gov – something is not making much sense.

      A good, effective Gov would be completely tuned in the the risk involved in the relationship with Williams – that involved his wife and his family while Williams was very obviously seeking Gov support for his business.

      something does not add up… you end up with two competing pictures of McDonnell… and one of them is false.

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