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Sometimes an outside source explains it well.  Here are some thoughts from the Restoration Fund (former Governor Bob McDonnell’s legal defense fund):

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 Ogletree 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.

Now it is not often I agree with Harvard!

BUT I am glad the Fourth Circuit did:  They allowed McDonnell to remain out on bond pending his appeal!  Here’s the Restoration Funds’ announcement:

Just hours after Fmr. Gov. Bob McDonnell’s attorney’s filed their final brief in support of his effort to remain free on bond pending appeal, the Fourth Circuit ruled in our favor.

The order states:

The court further finds that the appeal is not for the purpose of delay and raises a substantial question of law or fact that, “if decided in favor of the accused” is “important enough” to warrant reversal or a new trial.

This means that there is an issue to appeal.  It may or may not be successful.  But there is an issue – maybe more than one.  That is worth a small tiny victory lap.  Now let’s all continue to do what the Restoration Fund recommends below and continue to pray for Bob and Maureen McDonnell.  They are not crooks.  They were foolish, extremely so.  But they will pay an extreme political penalty for this.  They should not be felons and go to prison.  If you feel led to help – go here.

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


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

3 Responses to “VICTORY LAP! MAYBE closer to EXONERATION for former GOVERNOR McDONNELL (and his wife MAUREEN)!”

  1. Mr. Green Jeans says:

    But Hanover County supervisor Wayne Hazzard voted to eliminate $52 million in proffers for the developers while he owed over $400,000 in proffers on his land and failed to disclose this fact when he voted on a close 4-2 vote.
    When the Democratic Committee in Hanover screamed Conflict of Interest- he said he “forgot he owned that land and owed proffers.”

    Why isn’t he being convicted??????? that’s more than a Rolex Watch and some loans.


  2. Scott Dailey says:

    Just another example of a politician with the right political contacts and lots of moneyed supporters being able to take advantage of the system were a normal “Joe” wouldn’t be able to.

    He did the crime now he needs to do the time.

  3. I agree that he did the crime and now he needs to do the time.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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