RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal judge has denied former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s request to remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions. U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond denied the request Tuesday, meaning McDonnell could begin his two-year prison sentence on Feb. 9. McDonnell’s lawyers had made the request following his Jan. 6 sentencing. Prosecutors had opposed that request. On Monday, McDonnell’s attorneys argued the appeal could take almost as long as the sentence itself. And they said that the appeal would question whether the government’s interpretation of an “official act” is correct. But Spencer said it’s not a “close question” that justifies release pending appeal. A jury last year found McDonnell and his wife guilty of taking gifts and loans from a vitamin executive in exchange for promoting his products.