McDonnell indictment is historic- for all the wrong reasons - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

McDonnell indictment is historic- for all the wrong reasons

Friday's scene at the federal courthouse was historic.

No Virginia governor has ever been put into a similar situation. The trial in July will be something the Commonwealth has never seen. No matter what the outcome of this trial, Bob McDonnell will go down in history.

Unfortunately- it won't be for the McDonnells it won't be for positive reasons. It is never good to be first- especially when it comes to a federal indictment, and that is the exact situation Bob McDonnell finds himself in.

It's not that prominent people never get indicted.

"You find this very often in other states, you find this at the national level," said Dr. Rich Meagher, a political science professor at Randolph- Macon.

It actually happens quite a bit.

"You find this in other walks of life, like celebrities or Hollywood," he said.  

But here in Virginia, our governors, never get indicted.

"I think it is unprecedented in Virginia politics," said Meagher.

Meagher can't find a moment in Virginia politics that quite rivals this one. He said there are examples of chief executives in other states who have faced serious charges, even convicted and sent to jail.

"If this were Illinois where they appear to have a shuttle bus between the jail and the governor's office that would be one thing," he said. "But in Virginia this is unheard of."

And because this it is the first, it means that it will be attached to Bob McDonnell forever. McDonnell, who has received high marks for the work his administration has done in Richmond, will forever be tied to this indictment. Meagher believes that will happen regardless of the outcome.

"No matter what even if he is able to successfully defend himself against these charges he will have been the first Virginia governor to go before of a jury."

But the book on the McDonnells is not closed. A trial is still to come. History is still to be written.

And the McDonnells trial is set to begin July 28th at the federal courthouse downtown.  It could take 5 to 6 weeks wrap up.

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