Analyst: McDonnells face more prison time than a bank robber

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A local defense attorney says Bob and Maureen McDonnell could be sentenced to more time in prison than someone convicted of robbing a bank.

“I think that anytime that Bob McDonnell is going to be away from his family is going to be hard time,” said attorney Andy Protogyrou.

The former Governor could be away for a while. Protogyrou believes the McDonnell defense was flawed from the start.

“If you get on the witness stand and say, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong,’ and on top of that say it is Maureen’s fault, I don’t think that the jury likes that,” Protogyrou said.

He believes McDonnell should have told the jury he made mistakes, but didn’t know it was a crime.

“I think he was there, so defensive,” Protogyrou said. “‘I did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong.’ That’s where I really think they blew it.”

McDonnell will be sentenced January 6. The process for calculating prison time is complicated, at best. It’s a formula that considers the crime, the amount of money received and other factors. Protogyrou says it looks like the McDonnell’s are facing up to 120 months or 10 years behind bars, but other sources say they could face up to 20 years for each conviction.

“One thing here that no one has really talked about, when somebody takes the witness stand and they lose just about every count, that means the jury didn’t believe what he said,” Protogyrou said. “If the jury didn’t believe what he said and they didn’t believe you, that’s often in the eyes of federal court a lie. If he lied on top of being under oath and on top of being convicted, the judge can consider that when he gives his sentence.”

McDonnell was offered a plea deal in December that would have allowed his wife off the hook. The former Governor would have pleaded guilty to only one charge, but he decided to roll the dice and got to court.

“In hindsight, he probably should have, but right now you’re looking at a former governor of Virginia, who, if he had held up a bank and stolen $100,000, he’d probably get the same or a little less,” Protogyrou said.

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