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Supreme Court Dismisses Former Virginia Governor’s Conviction
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Bob McDonnell

Summary: The federal corruption charges against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell have been vacated by the Supreme Court 8-0.

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Their actions have left it so that McDonnell can be retried, but for now his conviction is overturned.

  
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McDonnell was convicted in 2014 on federal corruption charges. He was found guilty of the charges for accepting gifts, money, and loans from Jonnie R. Williams in exchange for things deemed favorable for Williams and his company. He is the CEO of a Virginia-based company.

Read Former Virginia Governor’s Corruption Trial Resumes.

The controversy of the case centered on what is considered “official action” under federal corruption law. Chief Justice John Roberts declared that “In sum, an ‘official act’ is a decision or action on a ‘question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy. Setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organizing an event (or agreeing to do so – without more – does not fit that definition of an official act.”

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Roberts did call McDonnell’s action “distasteful” and clarified that he can still be prosecuted by the government. “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that,” said Roberts. “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute. A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption, while comporting with the text of the statute and the precedent of this court.”

See Former Governor and First Lady Found Guilty of Corruption.



Virginia State Sen. Bell Stanley added his thoughts, “Despite what the federal prosecutor wanted the jury and the public to believe, not everything an elected official does is an official act. Sometimes a luncheon is just a luncheon.”

Do you think McDonnell abused his position? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about the case read, Corruption Trial Continues with Defense of Former First Lady Maureen McDonnell.

Photo: northjersey.com



 

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