Charges dropped against ex-Va. gov­er­nor

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Alan Suderman and Alanna Durkin Richer

RICH­MOND, VA. — Fed­eral prose­cu­tors dropped their cor­rup­tion case against for­mer Vir­ginia Gov. Bob McDon­nell and his wife Thurs­day, more than two months af­ter the U.S. Supreme Court over­turned his con­vic­tion.

Prose­cu­tors in­di­cated in court fil­ings they do not want to pur­sue a sec­ond trial against the cou­ple.

“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,” U.S. At­tor­ney Dana J. Boente’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

The de­ci­sion ends a years-long le­gal saga for the for­mer gov­er­nor and once-ris­ing Repub­li­can star.

“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,” McDon­nell said in a state­ment. “These wrong­ful con­vic­tions were based on a false nar­ra­tive and in­cor­rect law.”

McDon­nell and his wife, Mau­reen, were found guilty of do­ing il­le­gal fa­vors for wealthy vi­ta­min ex­ec­u­tive Jon­nie Wil­liams in ex­change for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

But the high court unan­i­mously held in June that McDon­nell’s ac­tions were dis­taste­ful but didn’t nec­es­sar­ily vi­o­late fed­eral bribery laws.

Wil­liams, who was seek­ing state univer­sity re­search on his com­pany’s sig­na­ture anti-in­flam­ma­tory prod­uct, loaned the cou­ple tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to help them pay debts and keep their money-los­ing Vir­ginia Beach va­ca­tion rental prop­er­ties afloat. Wil­liams bought nearly $20,000 in de­signer cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories for Mau­reen McDon­nell and a Rolex watch for Bob McDon­nell. He also paid for trips and golf out­ings for the cou­ple and their chil­dren, and gave $15,000 for cater­ing at McDon­nell daugh­ter’s wed­ding.

At is­sue in McDon­nell’s case was a fed­eral bribery law that makes it il­le­gal for a pub­lic of­fi­cial to agree to take “of­fi­cial ac­tion” in ex­change for money, gifts and other things of value.

In va­cat­ing McDon­nell’s con­vic­tion, the Supreme Court ruled that set­ting up a meeting or or­ga­niz­ing an event — with­out do­ing more — isn’t con­sid­ered an “of­fi­cial act.” Bob McDon­nell had been found guilty of do­ing il­le­gal fa­vors for a busi­ness­man.

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