Maureen McDonnell, the wife of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, could become the first modern-day governor’s spouse sent to prison for felonies she was convicted of committing while she held the mostly ceremonial position.
Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced on February 20 in US District Court on eight public corruption counts.
Federal prosecutors have recommended an 18-month prison term – six months less than Bob McDonnell got when he was convicted on 11 counts last month. Maureen McDonnell’s attorneys are asking for probation and 4,000 hours of community service.
More than a century ago, a former West Virginia first lady was acquitted more on charges of forging her first husband’s signature. None, however, has confronted the prospect of a prison term for a felony conviction.
More recently, former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, faced questions over whether she was personally enriched by the relationship. Neither has been charged.
Bob and Maureen McDonnell were convicted in September 2014 of doing favors for the CEO of a nutritional supplements company in exchange for $165,000 in gifts and loans.
Maureen McDonnell’s lawyers said in court papers that she was never comfortable in the role of first lady, and she cracked under the pressure and the fear of letting her husband down.
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