RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said he does not believe former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell should face trial again on federal corruption charges. This week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously threw out McDonnell’s previous conviction.
The 8-0 Supreme Court decision left open the possibility for McDonnell to be retried, but in the meantime, his conviction was vacated.
Speaking on WTOP in Washington, Governor McAuliffe said he believed it was time to move on.
“He made some mistakes, he took some gifts he shouldn’t have taken. He apologized for that. But I think now that the Supreme Court has ruled I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end of the process,” Governor McAuliffe said. “This man has paid the price, it is time to move on. As governor I sit with a lot of big issues every day, the economy and everything else. Let’s move on.”
McDonnell was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2014.
He was found guilty of violating the law when he received, gifts, money and loans from Jonnie R. Williams, the CEO of a Virginia-based company, in exchange for official acts seen as favorable to Williams and his business.
The case centered around the question of what constitutes the scope of an “official action” under federal corruption law.
Writing for the court, Chief Justice John Roberts set a clear definition of the term and how it can be used in corruption convictions.
“In sum, an ‘official act’ is a decision or action on a ‘question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy,” Roberts wrote. “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.”
He also said that political corruption can still be prosecuted by the government, and noted that McDonnell’s actions were “distasteful.”
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will now consider whether there is enough evidence for a new trial based on the Supreme Court’s definition of “official acts.” Prosecutors would then have to decide whether to bring new charges against the former governor.
The CNN Wire contributed to this report.