Bob McDonnell's corruption case reaches final argument
Apr 28, 2016 08:26 AM EDT
Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's last chance to avoid prison was argued yesterday, April 27, in the US Supreme Court following 1 corruption convictions made in September 2011. The court's decision in McDonnell's corruption appeal is expected to have wide implications for politicians and public officials by clarifying what distinguishes bribery from routine actions they often perform as a courtesy to constituents.
In the final argument of the term, the Supreme Court weighed the former governor's contention that doing favors for a businessman who gave him gifts like Rolex wristwatch, golf outings, and an allowance to cater a wedding celebration did not amount to public corruption, Loudoun Times Mirror reports.
The convictions stemmed from McDonnell's acceptance of $165,000.00 worth of gifts and loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the former CEO of Star Scientific Inc. Williams made a deal with the former governor in exchange for his influence promoting the company's products. However, McDonnell claimed that his conduct in helping never crossed the legal line into official action, The State Journal-Register has learned.
With that being said, politicians which include former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig and former Attorney General John Ashcroft have rallied to McDonnell's defense. They stated that the trial judge in the former governor's case defined official act so broadly that the jury was allowed to convict him for simply granting Williams political access and encouraging other officials to consider his proposal, according to Politico.
McDonnell, 61, was sentenced 2 years in prison while his wife, Maureen was convicted of i counts and sentenced to 1 year and 1 day. The two have remained free pending their appeals where Maureen's case is on hold while her husband goes before the high court.
McDonnell's Supreme Court corruption appeal helped decide whether the First Amendment protects average Americans or special interests. The shorthanded supreme court waded through the political thicket of abortion, contraception, immigration, and affirmitive action completed the term's oral arguments on Wednesday by trying to define political corruption.