CRIME

Experts: 2-year sentence for former Virginia governor likely means minimal sentence for wife

  • Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, hugs his daughters Cailin Young, left, and Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky, right, after speaking outside federal court in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.  McDonnell was sentenced to two years prison  and two years probation in his corruption case. He is to report to prison by Feb. 9. His wife, who was convicted on eight counts of corruption, will be sentenced Feb. 20.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, hugs his daughters Cailin Young, left, and Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky, right, after speaking outside federal court in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. McDonnell was sentenced to two years prison and two years probation in his corruption case. He is to report to prison by Feb. 9. His wife, who was convicted on eight counts of corruption, will be sentenced Feb. 20. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell, center, leaves federal court with her sons, Bobby, left, and Sean after her husband, former Gov. Bob McDonnell, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for corruption charges, Tuesday, January 6, 2015, in Richmond, Va. Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced Feb. 20 for eight counts of corruption. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Daniel Sangjib Min)

    Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell, center, leaves federal court with her sons, Bobby, left, and Sean after her husband, former Gov. Bob McDonnell, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for corruption charges, Tuesday, January 6, 2015, in Richmond, Va. Maureen McDonnell will be sentenced Feb. 20 for eight counts of corruption. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Daniel Sangjib Min)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, hugs his daughters Cailin Young, left, and Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky, right, after speaking outside federal court in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.  McDonnell was sentenced to two years prison and two years probation in his corruption case. He is to report to prison by Feb. 9. His wife, who was convicted on eight counts of corruption, will be sentenced Feb. 20.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, hugs his daughters Cailin Young, left, and Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky, right, after speaking outside federal court in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. McDonnell was sentenced to two years prison and two years probation in his corruption case. He is to report to prison by Feb. 9. His wife, who was convicted on eight counts of corruption, will be sentenced Feb. 20. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell asked a judge for mercy for his wife, as well as himself, before being sentenced to two years in prison for public corruption.

It was a much lighter sentence than prosecutors wanted. And legal experts say it likely foreshadows similar treatment for Maureen McDonnell when she's sentenced next month for her role in the bribery scandal.

Defense attorney Scott Fredericksen and College of William and Mary Law School professor Jeff Bellin are both former federal prosecutors. They agree the outcome of Tuesday's hearing points to a probable minimal sentence for the former first lady.

A jury in September convicted the McDonnells of corruption for taking more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from wealthy vitamin entrepreneur Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his products.