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Bond denied for former Gov. Bob McDonnell, will go to prison Feb. 9

Posted at 9:15 AM, Jan 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-13 10:48:50-05

UPDATE (January 13, 2015 10:45 a.m.): A federal judge has denied bond for Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. He will be going to prison on February 9th.

RICHMOND, Va. -- Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge after being convicted four months ago on 11 counts of on public corruption.

McDonnell must serve the 24-month sentence concurrently and must surrender before 2 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Once he is released from prison, he will be on supervised release for two years. He also must pay $1,100 -- which is $100 per charge.

Additionally, McDonnell can have no credit charges or open new lines of credit during those two years without permission from his probation officer. The former governor must also provide access to financial transactions to the probation officer.

McDonnell asked the judge to service his sentence at the FCI Petersburg, a low-security federal correctional detention facility, so that he can be as close as possible to his family. The judge said he will make that recommendation to Bureau of Prisons.

His sentencing ends the dramatic downfall of the Republican governor once heralded as a rising star -- tapped to give the party's 2010 rebuttal to President Barack Obama's State of the Union, and a fixture on short lists for national office.

Now, McDonnell has another distinction: He's the first Virginia governor ever convicted of public corruption.

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RELATED: After thanking judge for fairness, McDonnell vows to appeal verdict | US attorney on McDonnell sentence: ‘No one is above the law’

U.S. District Court Judge James Spencer delivered the sentence in a Richmond courtroom Tuesday morning that was packed with dozens of local and national journalists whose eyes McDonnell had first caught while he battled with legislative Democrats in one of the nation's most important presidential swing states.

Moments before his sentencing, McDonnell told the Spencer "I stand before you as a heartbroken and humbled man."

Spencer said he doesn't understand why good people do bad things, but McDonnell's crimes couldn't be ignored -- even if the sentencing guidelines were too harsh in this case.

"This entire case has been tragic from beginning to end," Spencer said.

The decision came after 30 minutes of debate between prosecutors and McDonnell's attorneys over technical issues -- including the U.S. probation office's sentencing guidelines and just how much of a businessman's largesse actually improperly benefited McDonnell.

While McDonnell's attorneys petitioned the court for a sentence of community service, the prosecution sought 10 years and one month in jail. In a packed courtroom, Judge James Spencer reduced McDonnell's recommended sentence Tuesday morning from 10 1/2 to 12 years to 6 1/2 to 8 years.

Spencer ruled that the value of the gifts McDonnell received was between $97,000-121,000. That would equate to about 78-97 months behind bars based on federal sentencing guidelines.

McDonnell, who walked into the court with one of his daughters by his side, spoke following the sentencing.

Former first lady Maureen McDonnell, who was also convicted and will be sentenced on Feb. 20, was escorted into the courthouse by her son and daughter.

McDonnell’s sister, Maureen McDonnell, said the family was doing "as good as could be expected."

Tuesday marked the the culmination of an emotional legal process that often pitted McDonnell and other members of his family against his wife.

The best possibility for McDonnell was that the judge will accept his lawyers plea for 6,000 hours of community service. However, prosecutors argued that he should serve 10 1/2 years, which is in line with nonbinding federal sentencing guidelines.

Federal prosecutors said they were pleased with the sentence handed down Tuesday.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia spoke following the sentencing.

“No one is above the law," said Boente. "Not a high public official, not even the highest public official in the state."

Regarding the double immunity deal for donor Jonny Williams, which was a question posed by former Governor Doug Wilder to Judge Spencer during Tuesday's hearing,  Boente said prosecutors did the best the could.

"Our job is to prosecute the case in the best way we can," Boente said. "We do give credit for cooperation to people and it was important to prosecute the public official, who is always the main target in these investigations."