Friday, 09 January 2015 00:00

Editorial: A gross injustice in sentencing

Written by Editorial board of The Anniston Star

Robert F. McDonnell, the man who served as Virginia’s governor from 2010 until 2014, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison Tuesday. To say McDonnell was convicted of corruption is to tell only a fraction of the story surrounding his dealings while in office.

The story begins with an executive of a dietary supplement company named Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who wished for Gov. McDonnell to make life easier for him and his business.

Before it was over, Williams provided the governor and his wife Maureen McDonnell with $170,000 worth of loans and gifts. This bounty included:

  • A $15,000 shopping spree for Mrs. McDonnell in April 2011.
  • A check to the McDonnells worth $15,000, which was used to pay for their daughter’s wedding.
  • A sweetheart loan worth $50,000 to the McDonnells.
  • Another $50,000 to help a member of Gov. McDonnell’s family to start a business.
  • A $6,500 Rolex watch with “71st Governor of Virginia” engraved on the back.
  • $3,800 worth of services at a highly rated golf course in Virginia.

For his crimes, the former Virginia governor received 24 months. His wife’s sentencing is next month.

Don Siegelman, former governor of Alabama, is serving a 78-month sentence in federal prison.

Siegelman was convicted of trading a $500,000 contribution to the governor’s pro-statewide lottery campaign for a seat on a state board, a position the contributor, former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, had previously held. That is essentially the reason many U.S. ambassadors/presidential contributors hold their posts. Same for how every governor fills out state boards across the United States.

Yet, somehow Siegelman is the one serving more than seven years in prison. His term is scheduled to end in August 2017. McDonnell’s two-year sentence should conclude in February 2017, six months ahead of Siegelman’s release date.

Smells like a gross injustice against Don Siegelman.

Link to original article from The Anniston Star

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