McDonnells Convicted

In breaking news, a federal jury has convicted former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell of 11 counts of public corruption, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice. His wife, Maureen, was convicted on eight counts. It won’t be clear until we have more details, but it seems like the jury did not buy either of the novel defenses offered by the McDonnells: the former governor’s claim that his wife was too crazy and estranged from him for a conspiracy to have occurred, and the former First Lady’s claim she was infatuated with the guy allegedly trying to bribe her, as evidenced by 1200 (!) texts and phone calls between the two.

You’d probably have to be from Virginia (I lived there for a good while) to understand how much violence this case has done to the Old Dominion’s self-image as an island of official probity (often reactionary probity, but probity nonetheless) in a sea of corruption and compromise. Trouble is, a lot of Virginians will just decide to make sure in future to elect governors too rich to bribe.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.