The daughter of convicted former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell said that her mother should receive most of the blame for the governor’s public corruption charges, explaining in a letter that Maureen McDonnell’s materialism and suspected mental-health issues ultimately led to the his downfall. The letter reinforces the widespread disbelief that Governor McDonnell was capable of corruption.
According to the Washington Post, Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky wrote this in defense of her convicted father.
“My mom… has always been concerned about getting discounts or freebees. She hid her coordination with people for free or discounted things or services and she didn’t communicate with my dad because she knew he would not approve… The testimony about my mom was not just part of a defense strategy and was not an attempt to ‘throw her under the bus,’ but unfortunately, was the reality.”
A judge will sentence Robert McDonnell, commonly called Bob, on January 6. His attorneys are fighting for community service, but prosecutors say no less than 10 years behind bars would be the appropriate punishment.
To buffer the governor’s case, defense attorneys have submitted 440 letters to the court, including letters from family, like the one above.
Another from Governor McDonnell’s sister also placed the blame on Maureen’s shoulders, saying “some of his wife’s actions have been unilateral and have blindsided Bob and his family.”
Fox News reports that McDonnell’s daughters believe their mother has suffered from mental illness for years. As the governor’s political career began to take off, she became lonely and looked to material things for comfort, leading the couple to accept luxurious gifts from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of a company selling nutritional supplements.
The gifts came with a heavy price. As the Inquisitr previously reported, Robert and Maureen McDonnell were convicted in September of using the governor’s office to promote the company’s products in exchange for the items. Now supporters of the couple are coming forward to highlight the governor’s good record as a public servant and friend.
One letter talked about McDonnell hosting a fundraiser for a former professor with cancer. Another described how he paid the rent for a constituent. In another, he visited a stranger in the hospital and comforted a low-level staffer after the Newtown shooting.
The most powerful pleas may have come from Robert McDonnell’s family.
His other daughter, Cailin Young, wrote, “[M]y father is the heart and soul of our family and we will be lost without him.”
Her husband, Christopher Young, wrote, “[T]he mere thought of life without him is so heartbreaking that I cannot even believe it to be possible.”
Robert McDonnell and his supporters will have to wait until next year to learn the governor’s fate.
[Image Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons]