Tags: Supreme Court | Virginia | McDonnell | Republican | Corruption

Prosecutors Plan to Drop McDonnell Corruption Case

Prosecutors Plan to Drop McDonnell Corruption Case

Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (Getty Images/Alex Wong)

By    |   Thursday, 08 September 2016 04:58 PM

Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his wife Maureen won't face another trial on corruption charges, ending the four-year-long scandal that derailed McDonnell's rise through the ranks of Republican leaders.

"Today the United States moved to dismiss the charges against Robert F. McDonnell and his wife Maureen McDonnell," the Justice Department said in a statement, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "After carefully considering the Supreme Court's recent decision and the principles of federal prosecution, we have made the decision not to pursue the case further."

Almost three months ago the Supreme Court vacated the McDonnells' convictions on 11 counts of corruption from their 2014 trial. But last week, the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Virginia, Dana Boente, recommended to Justice Department officials they attempt to try McDonnell again.

"Today is a great day in which my family and I rejoice," McDonnell said in a statement. "More than 3 1/2 years after learning of an investigation, the final day of vindication has arrived. I have deep gratitude to the justices of the United States Supreme Court for their unanimous June reversal of the convictions. Today, I express my appreciation to the US Department of Justice for applying the correct rule of law articulated by the Supreme Court, and asking for these cases to be dismissed. I thank them for doing justice for me, my family, my friends, my Commonwealth and its servants, and for all those involved in the democratic process.

"Throughout this ordeal I have strongly proclaimed my innocence. I would never do, nor consider doing, anything that would violate the trust of the citizens of Virginia I served during 22 years in state elected office. These wrongful convictions were based on a false narrative and incorrect law."

Apparently Boente was overruled or had a change of heart, as a Thursday court filing asked the case be moved to a lower court where the prosecution can formally seek to dismiss the charges, The Washington Post reported.

"We thank the Department of Justice for the care with which they reviewed the case," William A. Burck, Maureen McDonnell's attorney, said to the Post. "We are thrilled and thankful that Maureen can now move on with her life."

The U.S. Attorney's Office didn't respond to the Post's request for comment.

According to legal expert Jacob Frenkel, of law firm Dickinson Wright, abandoning the case was the right decision.

"The decision not to prosecute vindicates those who believed all along that this case was an inappropriate extension of the bribery and gratuity statute," he told the Post. "Sometimes it takes the Supreme Court to rein in prosecutorial overreaching, and that is exactly what has occurred here."

In his statement, McDonnell said that, "forty-three months ago I was a heartbroken man. I struggled to daily summon the strength to perform my cherished final months of duties as Governor, being accused by my country of committing crimes of which I knew I was innocent. I have learned to be patient, to trust and wait upon the Lord, and to live each day being content with His Daily Bread.

"I have become grateful for this experience of suffering, having used it to examine deeply all aspects of my life, and my role in the circumstances that led to this painful time for my beloved family and Commonwealth. I am thankful to God for teaching me new lessons about His grace, mercy, and providence."
 

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Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his wife Maureen won't face another trial on corruption charges, ending the four-year-long scandal that derailed McDonnell's rise through the ranks of Republican leaders.
Virginia, McDonnell, Republican, Corruption
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2016-58-08
Thursday, 08 September 2016 04:58 PM
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