It’s not a good sign for Bob McDonnell when the prosecutor wants to throw the book at the former Governor not just in terms of getting convictions, but also in how he argues he should be sentenced.[read_more]
As we near the point where Bob McDonnell and his wife are to be sentenced for their September public corruption convictions, the former Governor sought permission from the court to provide a longer brief in support of his arguments for light sentencing than standard rules of the court allow, as reported by the Times-Dispatch:
Lawyers for McDonnell, due to be sentenced on Jan. 6, have filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer for permission to exceed a 30-page limit on McDonnell’s sentencing memorandum.
“The government will likely ask for a very substantial prison sentence for conduct the defense submits is outside the heartland for public-corruption cases,” wrote McDonnell’s lawyers.
In addition to addressing issues the government is expected to raise, they contend additional pages are needed to address “the entire life of the defendant” and are asking for permission to file a 50-page memorandum on Dec. 23 when all the parties are required to file their positions on sentencing.
But the prosecutors are having none of it.
The U.S. attorney’s office strongly opposes the request.
“Mr. McDonnell stands before this Court convicted of 11 felonies. he should be afforded no greater or lesser consideration from this court than any other defendants. As such, his motion that the court set aside the page limitations… for every other criminal defendant should be denied,” they wrote.
Among other things, prosecutors also argue that more than 30 pages of briefing by his lawyers is unnecessary.
“Mr. McDonnell testified on direct examination, without objection from the Government, about the vast majority of his life, including his: parents’ background, times at high school, ROTC scholarship to Notre Dame, military experience, law school experience, prosecutorial experience, experience as a private practice attorney, his children and siblings, his General Assembly experience, his campaigns for Virginia attorney general and governor, his professional accomplishments as an elected official and his relationship with his wife,” wrote prosecutors.
Yikes. It appears the McDonnells’ lawyers are right to suspect that the prosecution will seek a very tough sentence here if they are dug in so hard against even allowing them a few extra pages of briefing. Reporting at the time of their conviction suggested maximum sentence could be as much as 30 years in prison. Some analysts are predicting a sentence of between 5 and 11 years based on current federal sentencing guidelines.
But if recent history is a guide, those estimates might be a little low. Former Delegate Phil Hamilton was sentenced to over 9 years in 2011 for his conviction on 2 federal felony corruption counts (one count of bribery, the other extortion). Bob McDonnell was convicted on 11 felony counts, and Maureen on 9.