Fourth Circuit rules McDonnell remains free pending appeal

Bob McDonnell

Governor Bob McDonnell (photo by Lynn R. Mitchell)

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Monday brought the good news that former Governor Bob McDonnell would be allowed to remain free pending his appeals process (see Appeals court says McDonnell can remain free pending appeal).

Updated with this statement from Governor McDonnell:

“I am grateful for today’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit allowing me to remain free on bond pending my appeal.  I plan to spend time with my new granddaughter who was born this month, attend my sons’ graduation ceremonies, and embrace family time with my daughters.  I want to thank my family, friends and legal team for their tireless support and unwavering belief in my innocence.”

Shortly after that news broke, the Restoration Fund released additional information about the appeals process and how McDonnell’s lawyers have working to vindicate a good man. The Restoration Fund was set up for those who wanted to provide financial assistance for the hugely expensive legal process of battling the federal government.

There are many legal questions surrounding this case including the following:

Thanks to the support of many of you, we continue to push forward to have Gov. McDonnell vindicated upon appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A new poll last week confirmed what we know to be true, a majority of Virginians believe Bob McDonnell was a good governor for the State of Virginia.

Late last night, Gov. McDonnell’s legal team filed a brief to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals making a strong case that Gov. McDonnell remain free on bond during his appeal.

In the brief, five examples show why this Court should be highly skeptical of the Government’s drive-by recap of this nearly-six-week trial:

First, the Government claims “the jury found” Mr. McDonnell “received those payments … in exchange for helping Williams on his goal of obtaining studies at state medical schools.” Opp.4. That is false. The jury made no such finding.

Second, the Government blatantly mischaracterizes the following statement Williams claimed Mrs. McDonnell made: “The Governor says it’s okay for me to help you and-but I need you to help me. I need you to help me with this financial situation.” Opp.7 (quoting Tr.680).

Third, the Government implies that Mr. McDonnell and Williams had an agreement. But the Government conceded below that “[t]here [was] no express agreement in this case.”

Fourth, the Government claims Mr. McDonnell’s “support of Williams’s product was clear to university officials.” Opp.12. Again false. The only time Mr. McDonnell interacted with anyone at UVA or VCU in connection with Star was at the mansion event. The two university officials who attended that event testified Mr. McDonnell never “spoke favorably” about Star.

Fifth, the Government criticizes Mr. McDonnell for supposed deficits in his state disclosure forms. But it never mentions the undisputed fact that “[t]here has been no suggestion in this case that Mr. McDonnell violated Virginia law.” Tr.6125.

Here is a link to the brief:

Last week, the Fourth Circuit accepted three highly regarded Amicus Briefs on behalf of Governor McDonnell remaining free on bond pending appeal.

A brief submitted by Harvard Law scholars, including former Federal Judge Nancy Gernter, a Clinton appointee who with her Harvard colleague Charles Ogltree Jr. wrote:

“The jury instruction fails to prescribe limits to what the jury could consider an “official act” and went beyond what has previously been sanctioned by the courts.”

“Unless this Court authorizes such an expansion of the definition, amici believe the conviction must be reversed.”

Here is the full Harvard scholars brief:

The Fourth Circuit also accepted the momentous brief by a bipartisan group six former Virginia Attorney Generals on behalf of Governor Bob McDonnell and his request to remain on bond pending his appeal.

Their brief stated that the expansive interpretation of Virginia law 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.”

Here is a the full Attorneys General brief:

Democratic Attorney Generals Andrew P. Miller, Anthony F. Troy, Mary Sue Terry, and Stephen D. Rosenthal and Republican Attorney Generals Mark L. Earley and J. Marshall Coleman all filed on the above-referenced Amicus Brief on behalf of Governor McDonnell.

While the verdict was devastating news, Bob has been strengthened and encouraged by many, many friends who have reached out to express support.  He and his attorney’s plan an aggressive appeal of the verdict.

So many of you have offered support by prayer and financial contributions – we ask that you continue to pray and in order to maintain our strong appeal- we ask that you consider a contribution to the Restoration Fund.   Bob’s legal bills have run into the millions of dollars, and while we are confident of a just result, it will be a long legal process.

Please take the time and click on the link and consider standing with our friend Bob McDonnell who has done so much for the Commonwealth and our nation during his time of public service in the United States Army, General Assembly, Attorney General and Governor.

We ask for your continued prayers for the entire McDonnell family during these challenging times.

Friends of Bob McDonnell

p.s. If you prefer, you may make a contribution by check, simply fill out this form and make your check payable to “Restoration Fund”.  The form and check can be mailed to:  Restoration Fund, P.O. Box 34058, Washington, D.C. 20043.

This is good news. Our thoughts, prayers, and support continue for the Governor and his family.

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2 thoughts on “Fourth Circuit rules McDonnell remains free pending appeal

  1. Joy Jackson says:

    Lynn, this news makes my heart happy. I may not be in Virginia anymore, I fully supported and continue to support this good man. I am praying for Governor McDonnell and his family.

    • I cannot tell you, Joy, how happy I was to read it. I almost did a double somersault across the floor! Hoping this is the beginning of righting the injustices of this case and he will see full vindication. Why do such things happen to good people? I’ll be asking myself that for a long time concerning Bob McDonnell.

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