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Ex-First Lady of Virginia Gets One Year in Prison

Maureen McDonnell sentenced in corruption case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2015 12:26 PM CST
Ex-First Lady of Virginia Gets One Year in Prison
Former first lady Maureen McDonnell, left, arrives at federal court with her son Bobby in Richmond, Va., Friday.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – A judge in Virginia today spoke of "two Maureen McDonnells," and then sentenced the one who cashed in on her role as the state's first lady to a year and one day in prison. The judge allowed McDonnell to remain free while she appeals, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The sentencing came six weeks after her husband, former Gov. Bob McDonnell, got a two-year sentence. He, too, remains free pending appeal. Both were convicted of accepting cash and gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams.

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McDonnell told the court that she let Williams—the "serpent"—into the executive mansion, "and the venom from that snake has poisoned my marriage, has poisoned my family, and has poisoned the commonwealth that I love," reports AP. Judge James Spencer called the case "sad and puzzling," adding that the rest of the McDonnell family adopted a "let’s throw momma under the bus defense," one that eventually worsened into "let’s throw momma off the train." Daughter Rachel, however, did speak on her mom's behalf today: "I know she’s a strong woman, but I don’t know how much more she can handle." (The trial was pretty ugly at times.)

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