Lawmakers, Lawyers and Residents React to McDonnell Conviction

By: Val Thompson Email
By: Val Thompson Email

September 4, 2014

Charlottesville legal expert Scott Goodman expects former governor Bob McDonnell to get a harsh sentence for his corruption conviction.

"When you get on the witness stand, especially as a former governor and commit repeated acts of perjury, as obviously happened in this case, you do yourself no favors with the judge," Goodman said. "This governor will get at least nine years, I think probably more. Because after all, he was the governor."

Many residents in Charlottesville feel that McDonnell's punishment should be that harsh.

"He deserved everything he got," said Tiny Gonzales. "The man disrespected thousands of people that looked up to him."

"It's very surprising for Virginia," said Dania Jazouli, a fourth-year at the University of Virginia and a Charlottesville native. "I think everyone was just pretty shocked by it."

Jazouli hopes that Virginia won't become known for corruption, like some other states.

"Inevitably it will shed some sort of harsh light," Jazouli said. "But I don't think one person should determine Virginia's standing as a whole."

But that one person was once a rising star in Virginia, and held the commonwealth's most powerful position.

"It's a real tragedy for McDonnell," said Democrat David Toscano, the minority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates. "Here's someone who had been considered as a vice presidential candidate two years ago, and he's really brought a lot of problems on his family and a lot of problems for the commonwealth of Virginia."

Those are problems Toscano hopes he and his fellow lawmakers can solve in Richmond.

"Hopefully this will provide some greater incentive for us to change some of our laws and to change some of our campaign finance laws," Toscano said.

Goodman says this case has far-reaching impacts, because it expands the definition of what it means to bribe a public official.

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