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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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No Bond for Disgraced Former Va. Governor

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will not be released on bond pending appeal, a federal judge ruled

The setback for the Republican once deemed a presidential prospect, came the same day McDonnell filed to appeal the two-year jail sentence he received just over a week ago.

Although U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer conceded McDonnell does not impose a safety or flight risk, he found the former governor's appeal did not substantiate a "close" call that might lead to a new trial or overturned sentence.

In McDonnell's motion, he argued that allegations against him did not correspond to any actions taken in his official capacity as governor. He also challenged the validity of pretrial publicity and procedural events suggesting "evidence of premature jury deliberations."

"The Government provided substantial evidence for the jury to conclude that McDonnell knew what [Jonnie] Williams was seeking, specifically, research studies for Star Scientific's Antabloc product," said Spencer, referencing a finding from Dec. 2014. "The Court additionally found that Mr. McDonnell attempted to use his gubernatorial office to influence governmental decisions in favor of Star Scientific."

"Mr. McDonnell assuredly did more than provide mere access to Williams-he performed "official acts" as that term is defined under federal bribery laws," Judge Spencer said.

Spencer also noted that both the voir dire process and procedural issues are ultimately decided by the courts. "Because the determination of impartiality, in which demeanor plays such an important part, is particularly within the province of the trial judge," Judge Spencer wrote.

Judge Spencer also denied in part a Jan. 9 motion to unseal portions of the record.

McDonnell was convicted of 11 corruption charges on Jan. 6, 2015 and is set to begin his two year sentence on Feb. 9.

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