The Supreme Court has overturned the corruption convictions of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
The justices ruled that prosecutors defined too broadly the kind of conduct that qualifies as an “official act” public officials are not permitted to trade for gifts or campaign donations.
A jury convicted the Virginia Republican on 11 corruption-related felony counts in 2014, including “honest services” fraud, extortion and conspiracy.
Evidence showed McDonnell and his wife accepted over $175,000-worth of loans and gifts, such as vacations, designer clothes and a Rolex watch, from a businessman seeking the state’s help in promoting a tobacco-based dietary supplement.
McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison, but never began serving the time after the Supreme Court put his sentence on hold last year.
As a result of the new ruling, McDonnell’s sentence has been vacated and the case will be returned to the district court. Among the possibilities are a new trial or a plea bargain similar to one McDonnell reportedly turned down early on in the case. It’s also possible prosecutors could drop the case altogether.