State educators join list of McDonnell supporters sending letters to judge

Posted at 10:54 PM, Jan 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-03 23:30:36-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some high-profile educators are trying to help keep former Gov. Bob McDonnell avoid time in a federal prison.

From family to friends to educators--more than 400 letters have been sent to Judge James Spencer in regards to the sentencing of the former governor.

"I've never heard of that many letters in a case for sentencing," said CBS 6’s legal analyst Todd Stone.

CBS 6 recently told you about the family's letters of support to the judge.  Along with those, educators like University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and former Virginia Tech President Dr. Charles Steger, also wrote to Judge Spencer.

“It’s not so much the power of the person writing the letter that matters," explained Stone. “It's more the content and what they know about the person."

Both mentioned their time working with McDonnell when he was in office.

Sullivan wrote how McDonnell initiated phone calls with her several times a year--always in connection with official business and sometimes issues specific to the university.

But Stone says that the sentencing is ultimately going to come down to what the judge believes about McDonnell’s testimony.

"These folks were not in the courtroom listening to the evidence every single day,” Stone said.  “He was."

Still, Stone says all these letters will still be important come Tuesday’s decision.

"These are compelling letters, so it helps the judge to see a side of Gov. McDonnell that he might not otherwise see,” Stone said.