WTOP source: McDonnell’s ‘house of heartache’

WASHINGTON — Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been living apart from his wife Maureen ever since their September convictions on corruption charges, a source close to the family tells WTOP.

“Not a day’s gone by that one of those family members hasn’t cried. They’re just devastated,” the source says. “They’re in a situation that they could have never dreamed. This is a house of heartache.”

According to the source, the former governor has been living with the priest in Richmond who he stayed with during the trial, while also spending a significant amount of time with family or friends in Virginia Beach.

The former first lady has been living in Northern Virginia and spending time with the couple’s daughters who live in the area.

Another source close to the family tells WTOP that Maureen McDonnell is spending most of her time in the Richmond area.

The source says Bob McDonnell has been spending a lot of time praying and working with his lawyers ahead of his Jan. 6 sentencing. After he is sentenced, he will be able to file an appeal, which legal experts expect will focus on the definition of “official acts” that must be provided to amount to bribery, and issues surrounding how the judge handled the jury.

The Washington Post reported last week that federal probation office calculations of the sentencing guidelines in the case will likely lead to a recommendation that Judge James Spencer sentence McDonnell to 10 to 12 years in prison. The guidelines are not binding, but are often followed.

Even close friends expect McDonnell will have to sit in prison as the appeal works its way through the courts.

“He’s a sad man right now,” the source says.

McDonnell is facing more family challenges after his son Bobby was arrested on drunken driving charges this week.

“He’s put his trust in the Lord, and I think no matter what happens, he’ll stay that way,” the source says.

The source says McDonnell has not wanted to appear in public, but has seemed to get a visible boost from the support he has gotten from those who have seen him.

Maureen McDonnell is scheduled to be sentenced in late February. She will likely face less time in prison than her husband.

One of the McDonnell defense teams’ arguments was that she had solicited and accepted most of the $177,000 in gifts and loans from supplement company CEO Jonnie Williams on her own, and made promises, without consulting the governor. They had hoped the jury would acquit the couple, since Maureen McDonnell was not a public official.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Maureen McDonnell was living in Northern Virginia.

 

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