Two of convicted Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell’s (R) children argued that their father should face a lighter sentence on federal corruption charges in part because he shouldn’t be held accountable for their mother’s materialism and mental health issues.
The Washington Post reported Saturday on the letters of support daughters Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky and Cailin McDonnell Young wrote to a federal judge asking for leniency in their father’s sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 6.
“Through my life, I have seen my dad wear t-shirts with holes in them, shoes with the soles falling off and pants that are too short,” Zubowsky wrote. “My dad is the least materialistic person that I have ever known and he has never cared about things … my Mom, in contrast, has always been concerned with getting discounts or freebies.”
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted in September on corruption charges for accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy Virginia businessman in exchange for lending him the prestige of the governor’s office. The defense painted Maureen McDonnell as a sort of “crazy wife” who accepted gifts from the businessman because she developed a “crush” on him.
Zubowsky wrote that her mother barely communicated with her father because she knew that he wouldn’t approve of her seeking out free or discounted goods and services. Maureen McDonnell began to “fill the void” left by her busy husband with material things as he got busier with his duties as governor, she added, and also struggled with mental health issues.
Zubowsky argued that the unflattering testimony about her mother during the McDonnells’ federal corruption trial was not only part of the defense’s strategy, but “reality.” Her sister concurred in her letter to the judge.
“My Father’s testimony was widely criticized in the media as geared towards ‘throwing the family under the bus’. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth,” Young wrote. “It was very difficult for him to testify to these intimate issues, but it was the truth.”
Read the letters below: