Lawyers for former Governor and First Lady Bob and Maureen McDonnell have asked a federal court to dismiss the corruption charges against them. The McDonnells are facing 14 charges of political corruption. McDonnell’s lawyers said in a statement on Tuesday night,
The political corruption charges leveled against former Governor McDonnell are based on an unprecedented interpretation of federal law that would, if adopted by this court, criminalize many basic practices of democratic politics,
“That would, in turn, convert federal prosecutors into the ultimate arbiters of public ethics for state officials. But the wire fraud statute and Hobbs Act do not accord federal prosecutors such broad-ranging power. The government’s attempt to charge Mr. McDonnell under those provisions without alleging that he abused the official power of Virginia’s government therefore fails, and its corruption charges … should be dismissed.
McDonnell’s lawyers said that is not illegal for state officials to accept gifts from friends and donors as long as there are no political favors granted.
“To the contrary, a state official violates federal law only if he accepts something of value in exchange for performing or promising to perform an ‘official act.’
Two other charges, referring to making false financial statements, were not asked to be dismissed in the current filings. The McDonnells’ trial is set to begin on July 28th and last for 5 to 6 weeks.