WASHINGTON — Prosecutors must decide by the end of August whether to continue with the corruption case against both former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, an appeals court order issued Friday said.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond granted a request from the former first lady’s lawyers to put her case on hold until Aug. 29. The order sets the deadline in each McDonnell’s case for prosecutors and defense attorneys to either “submit a joint resolution of the case” or to file a proposed briefing schedule for new arguments before the court.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Bob McDonnell’s convictions in June based on problems the unanimous court found with jury instructions.
The court ruled that the definition of “officials acts” that was given to the jury was too broad.
The former governor’s appeal proceeded first because scheduling issues led to a delay in Maureen McDonnell’s sentencing last year. Her appeal was put on hold until his case was addressed by the high court.
The Fourth Circuit previously agreed to the Aug. 29 deadline in the former governor’s case for either an agreed upon briefing schedule or a status report from attorneys on both sides.
If the case proceeds, the Fourth Circuit would first need to decide that there is enough evidence under the newly outlined definition for a new trial. If the appeals court finds that there is not enough evidence, the charges would be dismissed.
A three-judge panel unanimously upheld McDonnell’s conviction last year.
The McDonnells were convicted in 2014 of taking $165,000 in gifts, loans and trips from a Virginia businessman in exchange for the prestige of the governor’s office.
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