The McDonnell trial is over - and ended badly for the former Governor and his wife.
There's already a torrent of coverage on their convictions, and I don't feel the need to pile on beyond pointing out two things:
- Of course the McDonnells will appeal. But the stunning breadth of the convictions - eleven counts for the Governor, eight for his wife - suggest that the couple is not going to get away scot-free. You might be able to invalidate a count or two on some technicality, but it's difficult to get the whole case thrown out.
- This is one case where the law, and jury, got it right. Much of the defense strategy hinged on the McDonnell's admitting that they behaved unethically, but their bad behavior didn't rise to the level of illegality. (Maureen's lawyers said what she did was "tacky" but not illegal.) The jury saw right through it; the judge made it clear that the conspirators just needed to know they were entering a pay-for-play deal, and not necessarily follow through on it. Of course, such wink-wink deals are standard operating procedure in politics, but it's nice to see such a flagrant example of it get such a smackdown. (No matter what Steve Albertson says.)