Supreme Court rules McDonnell can stay out of prison for now

Supreme Court rules McDonnell can stay out of prison for now
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell may stay out of prison for now, while prosecutors respond to his request to remain free until his appeal is heard. (Source: Supreme Court)
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell may stay out of prison for now, while prosecutors respond to his request to remain free until his appeal is heard. (Source: Supreme Court)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Supreme Court ruled on Monday former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell may stay out of prison for now, while prosecutors respond to his request to remain free until his appeal is heard.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday at 4 p.m. to file a response to his request to remain free. Legal experts say Monday's ruling does not mean the Supreme Court will hear his appeal on his corruption conviction.

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his request to stay out of prison on Thursday.

McDonnell was convicted by a jury in September 2014 in a political scandal where he gave favors to former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

The Supreme Court is the last chance for McDonnell  to stay free. He has remained free while his latest appeal move was decided. The former Republican governor was once widely considered a possible running mate to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Once prosecutors file their response, the Supreme Court will decide whether to grant the emergency request or order McDonnell to report to prison. If they grant the request, McDonnell could stay out of prison for several months, likely at least until they return for the new term in October.

Editor's Note: The article has been updated to reflect the temporary nature of the ruling. A previous version stated McDonnell would remain free until his case was heard.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved