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For Mr. McDonnell, the most likely outcome is a conviction for false statements and obstruction of justice and an acquittal on the remaining charges. He is a lawyer and those convictions will most likely mean he will be disbarred.

If he is convicted of those charges, he will face a short prison term and then he will come back on his rehabilitation tour. He will write a book and will find a place to land, somewhere in the political establishment.

In the next few days, the final tragic chapter in the public life of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will play out.

Like Icarus, the McDonnells flew high into the political sky, only to discover their wings were made of wax.

In the next few weeks, a jury in Richmond will decide how hard their fall will be.

(Judson Phillips practiced law for 25 years as either a prosecutor or criminal defense lawyer.)