RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Arguments just wrapped up in former governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal of his federal corruption charges.
In Tuesday’s hearing, each side had roughly a half hour to present their augments. McDonnell’s defense spent most of their time focusing on jury instructions.
They say while an instruction was given about what acts could be considered illegal, nothing was ever told to the jury about what acts are not illegal. Federal prosecutors say one instruction was given that said if acts were done in good faith, they are not illegal.
The defense went on to say that they were not allowed to ask potential jurors during jury selection if they had already formed an opinion about the case, due to pre-trial publicity. The defense says some could have already made up their mind before sitting in the jury box.
After court, McDonnell spoke briefly to the media.
“Nothing that has been done here violated the law, I know that in my heart and in my soul and I think the team here for their zealous advocacy today and the probing questions of the judges and continue to trust in the justice system of the American justice system and in the lord for vindication,” the former governor said.
There has been a lot of talk throughout this trial about the ‘Quid Pro Quo’ in this case. That means something was given in exchange for something else, which is what prosecutors say happened in McDonnell’s case. One judge said today that in this case there is obviously a lot of Quid (or something that as given.) However, she said the ‘quo’ (or something given in exchange) is “thinner.”
Could that offer an insight into the way the court is leaning? A decision should be announced sometime in the next 30 to 90 days.
Earlier this year, McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of 11 counts of corruption. His wife Maureen was also found guilty and sentenced to one year and one day behind bars.
A jury in September 2014 found McDonnell and his wife guilty of accepting more than $165,000 in loans and gifts — including a Rolex watch and designer clothing — in exchange for promoting a nutritional supplement marketed as a miracle cure by Star Scientific Inc. The company’s former CEO, Jonnie Williams, testified under immunity as the prosecution’s star witness.
McDonnell and his wife have been free on bond while they appeal. Legal experts say that decision suggests the court believes at least some of the issues raised on appeal are a close call, according to the Associated Press.
A wide range of legal professionals, including dozens of former state attorneys general from both major political parties, filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting McDonnell’s position that his convictions were based on an overly broad definition of what constitutes an “official act.”
Prosecutors have argued that the jury’s verdict at the end of a nearly six-week trial was sound.
Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story.