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Lawyers battle over page limits for McDonnell sentencing

The Associated Press//December 10, 2014

Lawyers battle over page limits for McDonnell sentencing

The Associated Press//December 10, 2014

(AP) Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s lawyers have asked a judge for permission to file a longer-than-usual brief about his upcoming sentencing on federal corruption charges.

Federal court rules in Richmond allow sentencing briefs of up to 30 pages. Attorneys for McDonnell said in court papers Monday that they need 50 pages because they expect prosecutors to recommend “a very substantial prison sentence for conduct the defense submits is outside the heartland for public-corruption cases.”

They also said they need to tell the life story of McDonnell, a onetime rising Republican star who was a possible running mate for 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney before the gifts-for-favors scandal that led to his conviction on 11 counts emerged.

Federal prosecutors argued in their response that U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer heard plenty about McDonnell’s life during his five-week jury trial. They noted that McDonnell’s own testimony covered details of his personal and professional background, including his education and his career as a military officer, prosecutor, state legislator, attorney general and governor.

More than 30 pages is “simply unnecessary” and McDonnell should be held to the same limit as other defendants, prosecutors wrote.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted of helping former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams promote his dietary supplements products in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans. Williams testified under immunity as the prosecution’s star witness.

The former governor’s sentencing is set for Jan. 6. His wife was convicted of nine counts but had one count overturned by Spencer. Her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20.

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