Bob McDonnell is having a rough day, but he doesn’t have to look far for support.
The former Virginia governor was convicted Thursday on 11 counts of conspiracy, corruption, and bribery. But Virginia state Sen. Dick Black, former chief of the Army’s Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon, said he suspects the bad news won’t last.
“I predict that the McDonnell case will be reversed on appeal,” the Republican lawmaker said. “Of course, the trial has resulted in conviction on numerous counts. But the verdict followed a tabloid trial that focused less on legal issues and more on titillating gossip that was irrelevant to properly deciding the case.”
Black, a longtime state lawmaker who worked with McDonnell for years on the Virginia House of Delegates Courts of Justice committee, argued that the Supreme Court clearly states that a quid pro quo is required for a corruption conviction, and that McDonnell's case doesn't show there was one.
“I think the jury was misled into believing that it’s unlawful for officials to provide official help to contributors,” he said.
Black added that he believes there’s a growing trend of using prosecutions to take down rising political stars, citing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s current legal battle, though he said that the case against McDonnell was more substantive.
“It shows that there is a move to use the federal courts as a tool to bring down potential presidential or vice presidential contenders in the Republican Party,” he said.
Did he think that happened in McDonnell’s case?
“I worry that it could have been a factor,” he said.