Former Va. first lady moves to put appeal on hold

WASHINGTON — Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell is asking an appeals court to put her case on hold until the Supreme Court makes a decision about her husband Bob McDonnell’s corruption convictions or declines to hear his case.

Maureen McDonnell’s appeal — proceeding separately largely due to scheduling issues — is slated to come before a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond later this month.

A separate panel rejected the former governor’s appeal, and the full court declined to rehear the case.

The Supreme Court stepped in this summer to allow Bob McDonnell to remain free until the high court decides whether to hear the case. To grant that stay, the court had to find there is a reasonable probability that it will hear the case, and a fair likelihood that McDonnell will prevail.

In a new filing with the circuit court on Wednesday, Maureen McDonnell’s lawyers wrote that her appeal involves issues raised in her husband’s case, as well as separate issues relating to what she could reasonably be expected to know was illegal.

They argue it would be a waste of the court’s time to hold arguments on issues that the Supreme Court may decide separately before a decision is issued, and that the delay would not unnecessarily prolong Maureen McDonnell’s appeal.

Virginia’s former first couple faced a six-week trial together in the summer of 2014, after their indictment that January just weeks after leaving the executive mansion.

They were each convicted of taking more than $170,000 in gifts and loans from Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams. He was given full immunity in exchange for his testimony against them.

Bob McDonnell was sentenced this January to two years in prison. Maureen McDonnell was sentenced in February to one year and one day.

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