The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday morning vacated 11 corruption convictions against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
McDonnell, a Republican, was indicted in January 2014 for his dealings with businessman Jonnie Williams. During his term as governor, McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, accepted gifts from and arranged meetings for Williams with state officials. A jury found McDonnell guilty on 11 counts of public corruption in September 2014.
In January 2015, McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison. He remained free while awaiting an appeal. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions in July 2015, but he appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case this past January.
The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous, and based on its interpretation of what constitutes an “official act.”
“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion. “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”
The decision means McDonnell will not serve his prison sentence, but he may not be out of the woods, yet. Prosecutors could decide to retry the case.
You can read the court’s full opinion here.