University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is asking a federal judge to go easy on former Gov. Bob McDonnell ahead of Tuesday’s sentencing, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She’s one of the more than 400 writing in support of the former Virginia governor and onetime Republican rising star who now faces jail time over corruption charges.
In a five-paragraph note to Judge James Spencer, who presides over the case, she explained their professional relationship, saying they exchanged cell phone numbers and met one-on-one to talk official business.
“I hope that these observations are helpful to you as you consider sentencing, and I hope that you will consider a lenient sentence,” Sullivan wrote in the letter dated Oct. 11. She added the disclaimer that it was not an official statement from the university.
In September, a jury found both McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty on multiple counts after the couple accepted more than $175,000 gifts and loans from a businessman.
The U.S. Probation Office recommends that McDonnell be sentenced to at least 10 to 12 years behind bars.
The UVA president found herself responding to another scandal a few months ago. UVA was scrutinized as an alleged breeding ground for rape culture following a blockbuster report in Rolling Stone. While the magazine later backed away from some of its claims, Sullivan announced a new task force to help deal with its sexual assault response.