NewsLocal News


Bob McDonnell could learn fate Monday; SCOTUS decision expected

Posted at 9:55 PM, Jun 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-26 23:56:44-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Supreme Court is expected to rule on former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's federal corruption convictions Monday, and the nation's highest court appears primed to rule in favor of McDonnell's appeal, according to analysts.

Monday is the final day of term for the Supreme Court.

McDonnell's case is one of three the court has not ruled on yet this term.

The Justices will mostly likely either throw out McDonnell's convictions, order that he receive another trial with a more complete definition of "official action" as a guide, or uphold the lower court's decision and two year prison sentence, according to legal experts.

In 2014, a federal jury convicted McDonnell and his wife Maureen on charges that they accepted more than $170,000 worth of lavish gifts and loans from a wealthy Virginia businessman, Johnnie Williams, in exchange for promotion of products sold by Williams' dietary supplement company.

McDonnell's attorneys said Williams never received the government sponsored studies he sought through his relationship with the former first couple of Virginia, but prosecutors said the case is a clear example of political bribery for government access.

During oral arguments in April, Supreme Court Justices questioned the scope of federal laws prosecutors used to convict McDonnell and their impact in other contexts and cases, and struggled with the line public officials must cross before committing an "official act" that could trigger corruption statutes.

"What was interesting was that a number of the justices from what you would call both sides of the partisan divide on the court suggested that they were a little wary of this conviction," said political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth.

"[SCOTUS]'s primary focus is defining what is an official action," said CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone.  Stone said prosecutors across the country will  use the Supreme Court's ruling in the McDonnell case as a guide moving forward.   "This could effect people all over the country. It could effect current political investigations all over the country," Stone said.

Dr. Holsworth said no matter what the Supreme Court decides, the decision of a jury of average people to convict McDonnell on corruption charges is a sign in and of itself.

"[The jury's] disgust and revulsion at the fact that so many politicians, including this one, seem to get things ordinary people don't," said Holsworth.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take the bench at 10 a.m. Monday.