Former Governor still making appearances while his attorneys fight for new trial

Posted at 8:16 PM, Nov 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-11 20:16:44-05

RICHMOND, VA - It seems Bob McDonnell’s criminal convictions haven’t stopped him from doing what former Governors do – make public appearances. A veteran himself, McDonnell spent this holiday honoring others who served.

In the meantime, his January sentencing date hangs over his head and his attorneys are arguing for a brand new trial.

Many of the arguments laid out in their 30-page "Motion for a New Trial" are no different from what McDonnell's attorneys argued in court.

"Insufficient evidence" and "numerous legal errors" are what defense attorneys say led to McDonnell’s conviction.

In September, a jury convicted Bob and Maureen McDonnell of using the governor's office to help former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

Williams dished out more than $177,000 in loans and gifts to the couple. In turn, the former Governor and First Lady helped Williams promote his dietary supplement “Anatabloc.”

In the end, however, Williams never received any state funding and local studies of his product were never done.

Therefore, defense attorneys say there's no proof that McDonnell acted in any official capacity while in office to benefit Williams. And the attorneys claim the jury convicted McDonnell without really understanding the definition of an “official act.”

On top of that, McDonnell's attorneys are attacking the way the court handled jury selection.

Attorneys say the court refused to individually question each juror to determine "what effect the avalanche of pretrial publicity" had on them.

Instead, the court asked prospective jurors as a group whether they could put what they’ve heard aside and decide the case based on the evidence. All but one potential juror standing up in the gallery at the time indicated they could by sitting back down in their seat.

Judge James Spencer has yet to respond to the defense's arguments.

In light of a scheduling conflict, Judge Spencer did grant Maureen a new sentencing date in late February.

McDonnell, on the other hand, is still set to go before the judge on January 6th.