Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has some unlikely allies in his federal corruption trial. Three Democratic and two Republican former Attorneys General are asking the federal judge presiding over the case to dismiss most of the charges against him…and have filed a memo to that effect in U.S. District Court.
Representing Democrats Andrew Miller, Mary Sue Terry, and Stephen Rosenthal, as well as Republicans Marshall Coleman and Mark Earley, are former state Solicitor General Bill Hurd and attorney Stephen Piepgrass. The former AGs wrote that counts 1-11 against McDonnell are based on an “expansive interpretation of federal law” which is “completely alien to any legal advice” that they would have given to any Virginia governor. They say that if the court adopts that “unprecedented” interpretation, it would “wreak havoc upon the public life of Virginia by casting a shadow of federal prosecution and imprisonment across normal participation in the democratic process.” They also say that none of them would have concluded that McDonnell’s event-hosting and related acts would have constituted “official acts” under the corruption laws. They add that if these acts were construed this way, “then any favorable treatment by a governor – including meetings with a citizen or a simple nod of approval – would constitute ‘official acts’ as well.”
McDonnell is accused of exchanging political favors for gifts from former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.