January 6, 2015

I suppose, like most convicted Republican pols, he will come out as a strong advocate for prison reform. So there's that:

In a winding, roughly 15-minute speech before he imposed McDonnell’s two-year sentence, U.S. District Judge James Spencer mused on the fairness of the trial, the history of federal sentencing guidelines, the sadness of the case and even what personal knowledge he had of the former governor.

Spencer tipped that he would probably impose a lenient term when he talked of how the sentencing guidelines — once mandatory — would now allow him to show some discretion. Referring to a sentence of seven or eight years, he said: “That would be unfair, it would be ridiculous, under these facts.”

But Spencer was somewhat critical of McDonnell’s conduct and those of his supporters. He twice noted efforts to blame Maureen McDonnell, the former first lady of Virginia, who was also charged in the case. At one point, he called those who asserted that she had roped the governor into the case “dangerously delusional.” Later, he said, “While Mrs. McDonnell may have allowed the serpent into the mansion, the governor knowingly let him into his personal and business affairs.”

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