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Bob and Maureen McDonnell (Associated Press photo)

Bob and Maureen McDonnell
(Associated Press photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ His legal options running out, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that he be allowed to stay out of prison while he makes his final appeal on public corruption convictions. Earlier Thursday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond refused to grant McDonnell’s request to remain free while appealing to the high court. That decision means McDonnell would probably have to report to prison within the next several weeks to begin his two-year sentence, handed down in January for doing favors for a wealthy businessman in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans. But McDonnell’s attorneys filed an emergency application hours later to the Supreme Court, asking for a delay of the lower court’s decision or to let McDonnell remain free on bond while he makes his final appeal. The request was made to Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency appeals from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Roberts can decide the matter himself or refer it to the full Supreme Court. There is no set timeline for Roberts or the court to make a decision.