The Supreme Court has agreed to hear former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's appeal of his public corruption convictions. McDonnell says he never violated his oath of office and that the convictions were based on an overly broad definition of bribery.
In September 2014, a jury convicted McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, of multiple counts of corruption stemming from a relationship with Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a company called Star Scientific. As the Two-Way reported, the couple accepted money, expensive gifts and vacations from Williams in exchange for government favors as Williams sought to market his company's dietary supplements.
In January 2015, McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison and his wife was sentenced to one year and a day. Then in July, a federal appeals court upheld the corruption conviction. A month later, in August 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that McDonnell could postpone the start of his prison sentence while his appeal was pending.
The Associated Press reports that the decision to postpone the former governor's prison sentence indicated that the court would eventually choose to take the case because "such votes typically signal the court will hear the full appeal."
The AP adds that the case will probably be argued in April and decided in June.
McDonnell's case was one of eight cases that the Supreme Court decided to hear on Friday. The court will also wade back into the debate over faith-based groups benefiting from public programs. SCOTUS Blog explains:
"The church involved in the case was denied access to a state program in Missouri that provides playground surface rubber made from old tires. The refusal was based on a state constitutional provision barring any public funds going to religious groups. The new case has the potential for a major interpretation of what neutrality involving religion means for public benefits."
Additionally, the court will consider Microsoft's attempt to avoid a class-action lawsuit from Xbox 360 owners who contend that the video game console scratched users' discs.
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