Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife are breathing a sigh of relief today, after the United States Supreme court threw our their convictions for corruption and conspiracy.
Chief Justice John Roberts read the unanimous decision from the bench today, blasting federal prosecutors for being overzealous in their interpretation of what constitutes an official at. Justices of the court say merely scheduling a meeting or talking to officials or even hosting an event at the Executive Mansion to help a wealthy benefactor does not constitute an official act.
If it did, Roberts suggested, that would throw a monkey wrench into standard political behavior elected officials engage in every day. Virginia legal expert Rich Kelsey says the unanimous decision is an important feature of the ruling.
“It kinds takes politics completely out of the game here. When you get a unanimous decision on a case that kind of smells political, then at least you can have some great faith that the court absolutely rejected the government’s interpretation of the statute," says Kelsey.
The Supreme Court essentially remanded the case back to the appeals court, and prosecutors could end up bringing another case against the governor — but only if they feel they could convict him on a more narrow reading of what constitutes an official act.