Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was once on the short list of potential Republican vice presidential nominees, was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge on Tuesday.
McDonnell, 60, and his wife were found guilty on a number of corruption charges in September. The 11 charges that McDonnell was convicted on are related to accepting roughly $165,000 in gifts and loans from a businessman promoting his vitamin supplement company. McDonnell's lawyers have argued that the former governor couldn't have engaged in a conspiracy with his wife and the businessman because the couple's relationship was broken. They plan to appeal the conviction.
In sentencing McDonnell, U.S. District Judge James Spencer said that while the more than 400 letters that poured in on McDonnell's behalf were moving, he could not set aside the jury's verdict, according to The Washington Post.
"A price must be paid," Spencer said. "Unlike Pontius Pilate, I can't wash my hands of it all. A meaningful sentence must be imposed."
Still, the sentence was much lower than what prosecutors had requested and the range that was anticipated based on McDonnell's crimes. U.S. Probation Office officials had calculated that McDonnell's sentence should be 10 to 12 years behind bars. But during Tuesday's sentencing hearing in Richmond, Virginia, Spencer reduced that guideline calculation to six and a half to eight years, before departing from the guidelines to give McDonnell even less time. McDonnell must report to prison by Feb. 9, according to The Washington Post.
This post has been updated with more details from McDonnell's sentencing.