U of R law professor skeptical McDonnell would get convicted in re-trial

Published: Jun. 27, 2016 at 8:37 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2016 at 8:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A huge victory for former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell as the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed to throw out the corruption charges against him - meaning a new trial is possible.

The high court based its decision on instructions read to jurors at his trial here in Richmond. It said the trial court did not explain the law properly to the jury, so the jury may have convicted McDonnell on conduct that is not against the law.

"The Supreme Court's position is fairly clear. Go after people who have essentially said, 'give me money, and I will do this for you.' That arguably is not really what happened in the McDonnell situation," said University of Richmond Professor of Law Hank Chambers.

He's very skeptical that Bob McDonnell could get convicted in a re-trial, given how the court has re-defined what is an official act of corruption by a politician.

A decision on a retrial is now in the hands of the US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

If it decides there's enough evidence for a new trial, then it's up the Department of Justice to decide whether to move forward.

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