After oral arguments today at the Supreme Court on behalf of Governor McDonnell’s appeal of his conviction several sources are reporting it appears the court will overturn his conviction. From the Wall Street Journal,
“We’re worried…because, like any other organization, the prosecutors, too, can be overly zealous,” Justice Stephen Breyer said at an oral argument in the case. He and other justices said they feared the government’s legal theory potentially could make a congressman a criminal if he accepted lunch from a constituent and then sent a letter on his behalf.
From the Washington Post,
Justices on both sides of the ideological divide expressed concern about federal corruption laws that could criminalize what they variously called “routine” or “everyday” actions that politicians perform for campaign contributors or supporters who have provided them with gifts.
“For better or for worse, it puts at risk behavior that is common,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who along with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that the federal corruption laws are so vague that they might be unconstitutional.
Besides suggesting the law might be unconstitutional, the justices questioned whether instructions given to the jury that convicted the McDonnells were proper and whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant the convictions.The former Governor sat in the spectators section with his wife during the hour of oral arguments.
The former Governor and his wife Maureen observed the hour long oral arguments from the spectator’s section of the court.
The Supreme Court will announce their ruling on the case in June.