Cillizza: Robert McDonnell had the worst week in Washington

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is pictured with Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is pictured with his wife Maureen McDonnell during a campaign rally in Alexandria, Virginia. (Jan. 21, 2014) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Robert McDonnell made history this past week - but not the good kind - when he became the first Virginia governor to be convicted of a crime.

And not just one crime. A federal jury found McDonnell guilty of 11 counts of public corruption related to his relationship with a businessman named Jonnie Williams. Williams lavished the governor and his family with almost $180,000 in gifts, from watches to shopping sprees to straight cash.

The five-week trial that preceded McDonnell's conviction - his wife, Maureen, was convicted on eight corruption counts - depicted a personal and professional life that had spiraled badly out of control.

The McDonnell marriage was supposedly in bad shape. Maureen McDonnell, according to her own lawyers, had a "crush" on Williams. Awkward. Bob McDonnell, during his time on the stand, cast his wife as insufficiently supportive of his political career and riddled with insecurities.

If their marriage wasn't over before the trial, it sure as heck is now. A parade of witnesses said the McDonnells were willfully unaware of the trouble they were getting themselves into.

What was even more stunning was the fact that McDonnell could have avoided humiliation, not to mention the near-certain prison time he and his wife now face. He was offered, and he rejected, a plea deal proposed by federal prosecutors that would have had him plead guilty to a single count and allowed his wife to escape any charges. So McDonnell proved he wasn't just corrupt but also inept.

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Bob McDonnell, for thinking that you could talk your way out of an ethical cul-de-sac, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Cillizza covers the White House for The Washington Post and writes The Fix, its politics blog.

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