Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell has been sentenced to two years in US federal prison and two years of probation for taking a bribe from a businessman seeking to promote a dietary supplement. McDonnell, the first Virginia governor to be convicted of bribe-taking, on Tuesday received a shorter sentence than that sought by prosecutors for accepting sweetheart loans and lavish gifts from entrepreneur Jonnie Williams. McDonnell, once a rising star in the Republican Party, was convicted in September along with his estranged wife, Maureen, after a five-week trial that laid bare rifts in their marriage and marred Virginia's reputation for clean government. McDonnell left office in January last year. "No one wants to see the governor of Virginia in this kind of trouble," US District Judge James Spencer said before imposing sentence in a packed courtroom. "It breaks my heart, but a meaningful sentence must be imposed." McDonnell, 60, was ordered to report to prison on February 9. Defence attorneys asked that he be sent to a facility in Petersburg, Virginia, so he could be close to his family. McDonnell appealed to Spencer for mercy, saying: "I've admitted I am a sinner with many, many failures." After sentencing, McDonnell told reporters the conviction would be appealed. Spencer cited McDonnell's military record and numerous letters he had received on his behalf in imposing the sentence. Prosecutors had sought a 10- to 12-year prison term under advisory federal sentencing guidelines. McDonnell's lawyers had sought a community service sentence instead of prison time. A jury found McDonnell guilty of 11 charges of public corruption. He and his wife were charged with receiving $177,000 in loans and gifts from Williams.