Horses killed in fire

Where Bob McDonnell could go — other than prison

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Bob McDonnell's legal team has filed a sentencing memorandum it hoped would keep the former Virginia governor out of prison.

As it stands, McDonnell could be sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after he was convicted on multiple fraud charges.

In addition to arguing McDonnell's sentencing guidelines should be 33 to 41 months, not up to 12 years, McDonnell's lawyers offered alternatives to a prison sentence.

Mr. McDonnell has spent nearly 40 years in public service, has multiple advanced degrees, military and business experience, and has amassed considerable skills as an organizer, manager, and someone who has the ability to connect with help individuals from all walks of life.

While prison will not provide him with any "needed educational or vocational training," a community service program would permit Mr. McDonnell to exercise his existing skills for the benefit of the community in a supervised, rigorous environment.

That would be far better for society than simply imprisoning him – especially where he has already suffered tremendously and there is no chance he will commit crimes in the future.

Whereas imprisoning Mr. McDonnell for 10 years or more would cost well in excess of $300,000 of public funds, sending him to a long-term community service option would provide many times that dollar amount of valuable service to communities.

"Several charitable and faith-based organizations have submitted offers to organize and supervise this type of intensive program for Mr. McDonnell in poverty-stricken areas within the United States and other countries," his lawyers wrote.

Options suggested within the memo include Bristol, Virginia-based Operation Blessing Internation which provides hunger and disaster relief around the U.S. and 23 other countries. Another suggested option is the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, where McDonnell would serve as its Far Southwest Regional Coordinator in Bristol.

"It's hard to imagine that there will be no jail time, as the defense asked for, with a conviction on 11 counts by a jury of his peers," CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said. "That's the challenge Bob McDonnell faces and clearly the prosecution is going to argue for a stiff sentence."

McDonnell's sentencing is scheduled for January 6, 2015. His wife, former First Lady Maureen McDonnell, is scheduled to be sentenced, after her conviction on similar charges, February 20.