[Ed. – But fear not: it’s not because McDonnell’s actions in doing favors for a crony donor weren’t “distasteful.” It’s because the Supremes don’t see the favors as falling under the category of “official actions,” as it’s defined by Virginia law. The state legislature is free, of course, to write a more expansive definition of what constitutes an “official action.” All told, this seems to be a narrow, properly scoped opinion from the Court. It will mean there’s little point in trying to prosecute McDonnell further, of course. But his political career is finished anyway.]
The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously threw out the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
The 8-0 decision left open the possibility for McDonnell to be retried, but in the meantime, his conviction was vacated.
McDonnell, once a rising star in Republican politics, 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.