US & Canada

Bob McDonnell sentenced to two years in prison

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell arrives at federal court for sentencing in Richmond, Virginia 6 January 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption The former governor called himself as "heartbroken and humbled man"

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has been sentenced to two years in prison for public corruption.

Mr McDonnell, 60, was convicted on 11 charges in September, including wire fraud and receiving property based on his official duties.

Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of 10 years while his defence asked the judge for community service.

The six-week trial exposed the McDonnell family's strained marriage and shaky finances.

His wife, Maureen, was also found guilty in September of eight charges. She will be sentenced in February.

The couple accepted $165,000 in gifts and loans, including a Rolex watch, designer clothing and vacations in exchange for promoting Star Scientific, a vitamin firm, and doing favours for its chief executive, Jonnie Williams.

Mr Williams testified under immunity as the prosecution's star witness.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mrs McDonnell had a personal affection for Mr Williams, the court heard

On Tuesday, Mr McDonnell, once a rising star of the Republican party, told the judge ahead of sentencing he was "a heartbroken and humbled man".

"I allowed my life to get way out of balance," he said.

But outside of court, he said he still disagreed with the verdict and his defence would be appealing his conviction.

The former governor did not react when the judge handed down the sentence.

Mr McDonnell must report to prison by 9 February.

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