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Former Gov. Bob McDonnell found guilty and disgraced

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Thursday the Republican Party suffered another challenge to its claims to the moral high ground. Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were found guilty on multiple counts of corruption. Mr. McDonnell was found guilty this afternoon on 11 corruption charges; his wife, Maureen, was found guilty on nine. With three other GOP governors under investigation for political chicanery, the list of 2016 Republican hopefuls has been narrowed to a trickle.

In the 2012 election cycle, then governor of Virginia Robert Francis "Bob" McDonnell was all smiles when GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney considered him for his running mate. Tuesday after as the verdicts were being read, McDonnell covered his face and sobbed like a child.

According to a CNN interview of U.S. Attorney Dana Boente, who was the lead prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, today’s verdict will be a warning to those thinking the governor’s office is for sale:

This is a difficult, disappointing day for the Commonwealth. When public officials turn to financial gain for official actions, we have little choice but to prosecute the case.

The McDonnell’s troubles began more than a year ago when rumors surfaced about him trading the power of his office for thousands of gifts and loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., an executive at dietary supplement company Star Scientific. The original indictment charged Gov. McDonnell with giving special treatment, which McDonnell explained as doing nothing more than what he would have done for anyone else.

The jury had only deliberated two days before returning verdicts that could put the former governor and his wife in prison for decades, if they are sentenced to the maximum and fail on appeal. Regardless, McDonnell’s political future is over. He was on the short list for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

As Governor McDonnell faced media waiting in front of the court house, instead of looking contrite, he and his wife managed smiles for the cameras. When asked by a reporter what he thought about their verdicts, the former governor said he puts his trust in the Lord.

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