Last fall, McDonnell was convicted in federal court on 11 corruption charges, in a case involving First Lady Maureen McDonnell and allegations of wire fraud and an illicit quid pro quo with businessman Jonnie Williams.
McDonnell has until November 9 to file his request asking the Supreme Court to review his case.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied McDonnell’s request in a one-paragraph ruling that did not make clear when the former governor would be required to begin serving the two-year sentence he received at the end of his trial.
The same appeals court earlier this month had denied McDonnell’s appeal of his conviction.
“It is not very likely that the court would consider his case”, he says, because the issues raised by McDonnell’s attorneys are “fairly routine”.
But McDonnell can still ask the Supreme Court to let him stay free while he seeks its review. The agency then sends a certified letter to the defendant telling him where and when to report to prison.
The process can take a few weeks.
The couple was allowed to keep their freedom while they appealed the case.
Lawyers for McDonnell, the first Virginia governor to be convicted on criminal charges, had argued that he did not represent a flight risk or threat to public safety and thus did not need to be imprisoned.
McDonnell was vetted by Mitt Romney as a running mate in 2012, and was once considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate, as an established center-right victor in a critical swing state.
“The issue in this case is whether an ordinary citizen who was not a public official was on fair notice that Governor McDonnell’s actions would be deemed a violation of the federal bribery statutes”, the lawyers wrote.
He appealed the decision and the verdict was upheld in July.