Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was indicted back in January of 2014 for accepting gifts in exchange for political influence, and now the Supreme Court will be reviewing his case.

The Washington Post reports:

The McDonnells, who were convicted in 2014, were accused of intervening with state officials on Williams’s behalf in exchange for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods. The former governor was sentenced to two years in prison; Maureen McDonnell received a year and a day.

. . . . The Supreme Court will decide whether former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell was rightly convicted of corruption for his efforts on behalf of a businessman who bestowed money and gifts on the governor and his family.

The court announced Friday that it would intervene in the long-running saga of McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, and the case provides the justices a fresh opportunity to define what kind of political conduct crosses the line into criminal behavior.

McDonnell issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court’s announcement.

After the Supreme Court’s announcement Friday, McDonnell issued a statement thanking the court for accepting the case. “I am innocent of these crimes and ask the court to reverse these convictions. I maintain my profound confidence in God’s grace to sustain me and my family, and thank my friends and supporters across the country for their faithfulness over these past three years,” he said.

McDonnell’s attorney noted the import of the case for politicians on both sides of the aisle:

McDonnell’s attorneys had told the court that if his “routine political courtesies” to Richmond businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr. could be construed as felonies, it would make all politicians vulnerable and arm federal prosecutors “with a frightening degree of control over the political process.”

WaPo also notes that the Supreme Court has “limited the legal scope of what is considered public corruption”:

In campaign-finance cases, including Citizens United v. FEC, the court has noted that mere political favors for contributors do not amount to corruption.

And in a case involving former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling, the court scaled back one of federal prosecutors’ favorite tools for pursuing corrupt politicians and self-dealing corporate chiefs. The court narrowed the definition of what constitutes depriving the public or a company of a leader’s “honest services,” essentially saying it had to involve accepting bribes or kickbacks to be criminal.

I can think of one person who will be watching this case very carefully.

[Featured image via Reuters]


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