US Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Conviction– and the Decision Has Implications for NY’s Silver and Skelos Convictions
On Monday, June 27, 2016, the US Supreme Court vacated the lower-court conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell over the issue of how the term “official act” was (in the Court’s view) too broadly interpreted.
As CNN recaps, McDonnell was convicted in 2014 for “receiving 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.”
Williams, who was CEO of Star Scientific, Inc., later resigned as a result of the controversy raised in connection with McDonnell and another elected official.
Below are excerpts from the Supreme Court’s opinion in McDonnell vs. United States:
In 2014, the Federal Government indicted former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, on bribery charges. The charges related to the acceptance by the McDonnells of $175,000 in loans, gifts, and other benefits from Virginia businessman Jonnie Williams, while Governor McDonnell was in office. Williams was the chief executive officer of Star Scientific, a Virginia-based company that had developed a nutritional supplement made from anatabine, a compound found in tobacco. Star Scientific hoped that Virginia’s public universities would perform research studies on anatabine, and Williams wanted Governor McDonnell’s assistance in obtaining those studies. To convict the McDonnells of bribery, the Government was required to show that Governor McDonnell committed (or agreed to commit) an “official act” in exchange for the loans and gifts. The parties did not agree, however, on what counts as an “official act.” The Government alleged in the indictment, and maintains on appeal, that Governor McDonnell committed at least five “official acts.” Those acts included “arranging meetings” for Williams with other Virginia officials to discuss Star Scientific’s product, “hosting” events for Star Scientific at the Governor’s Mansion, and “contacting other government officials” concerning studies of anatabine. … The Government also argued more broadly that theseUS Supreme Court Overturns Former VA Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Conviction– and the Decision Has Implications for NY’s Silver and Skelos Convictions | deutsch29: