‘Throw momma off the train’ strategy shifted on Maureen McDonnell’s sentencing day

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RICHMOND, Va. --Virginia's Former First Lady, Maureen McDonnell, was sentenced Friday to one year and one day in federal prison. She was found guilty of nine corruption charges, and the obstruction of justice charge was later dropped. There was no date set to report to prison, and she remains free while pending appeal, which Randy Singer said will be filed in a few days.

McDonnell's sentence fell about halfway between the parameters that each side sought for her sentencing.  Many people expected a little bit more leniency on her sentencing, said political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth.

Throughout the trial and then sentencing, it became very puzzling to understand who Maureen Mcdonnell was, said federal court Judge James Spencer. “It was difficult to get to the heart of who she is,” he said. He  also said Bob McDonnell's legal team put forward a defense to throw her under the bus, the judge said and "ultimately they wanted to throw momma off the train."

In court a very different story was presented about Maureen McDonnell, that the judge called "bizarre;" she was no longer presented as the person looking for luxury goods, rather she was the person who wanted to stay home in sweatpants and flip- flops.
dr. bob

Many of the people who threw her under the bus, later became the people sending letters on her behalf. They slightly tweaked their defense from earlier to say "she's not the crazy woman we depicted but rather someone suffering from a disorder and anxiety," said Holsworth in a live interview (click above to watch).

The judge spoke about a letter written by Robert and Joyce Johnson, which said that they were fortunate to know only of two Maureen’s sides. He said that while they meant it as a positive, it showed her duality.

“Obviously there were some serious issues," he said.

Judge Spencer expressed his discontent with that reversal, and basically said he didn't think that was the right way to go bringing that defense into the courtroom.

He said what we hear today fleshed out a more complicated picture, but at the same time he said they were still co-defendants, co-conspirators and that while she was not the elected official he could not find a way to simply allow her not to go to jail,” Holsworth said.

Maureen was sentenced to half of the time he sentenced former Gov. McDonnell.

Both parts of the couple have been sentenced to prison, and Bob is out on appeal. Maureen's attorney said they will appeal, yet this sentence is a pretty solid since given the parameters.

“That’s because Spencer wants to send the message that he believes the actions they took were good people who did bad things..,’ said Holsworth. He “…sent the message that he believed they were co-conspirators and he could not simply believe that this was just an honest mistake that Maureen McDonnell did out of anxiety.”