McDonnell files appeal to be heard by 15-judge panel

(AP file photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former Governor Bob McDonnell has formally filed for his appeal on federal corruption charges to be heard by the full 15-judge panel.

Earlier this month, an appeals court upheld the guilty verdict against McDonnell on 11 charges of corruption. The decision means the appeals court believes there were no errors in the trial from last September in which McDonnell was convicted.

Both McDonnell and his wife are free on bond while the pursue their appeals.

A 23-page petition asks the court to rehear Bob McDonnell’s appeal, his attorneys hoping this could overturn the 11 felony convictions facing the one time rising star in the Republican party.

“What he is trying to do now is get the case in front of the entire 4th circuit court of appeals what consists of 16 judges,” said legal expert Russ Stone

But that opportunity to appear in front of the entire panel is not guaranteed. First, eight of the judges have to agree that the court should even rehear the appeal. Something that may not be an easy task.

“We already know how three of the judges feel, so that means he is going to have to somehow get 8 of the remaining 12 judges to agree that this case should be heard, that may be a difficult thing for him to do,” said Stone.

Stone says the judges typically only decide to hear a case if there is a special legal question to be decided. He says a full judge panel hearing a case is rare.

“I wouldn’t say that it happens frequently no. I would say in most cases it does not happen. But again, because of the unusual nature of this case it is hard to put this case in a box with most normal cases,” said Stone.

If the judges decide not to hear McDonnell’s case, the previous 3 judge panel could decide to rehear it, but again Stone says that is not likely. Good news today for McDonnell the court also decided that he will be allowed to remain out on bond until this next step in his appeal is complete.

“Since he was granted the bond before and his case was on appeal before, and he didn’t do anything to violate the bond, it’s not surprising that the 4th circuit would continue his bond,” said Stone.

The court should decide in the next few weeks if they will hear McDonnell’s case. Now as for his wife, Maureen McDonnell her first appeal will be heard in October.

Read more about Bob McDonnell here.

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