Court: Ex-Virginia Gov. McDonnell will be free during appeal

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, center, composes himself as he addresses the media outside federal court in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. McDonnell was sentenced to two years prison and two years probation in his corruption case. His attorney's Henry Asbill, left and John Brownlee, right, look on. McDonnell is to report to prison by Feb. 9. His wife, who was convicted on eight counts of corruption, will be sentenced Feb. 20. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has approved former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s request to remain free while he appeals his corruption convictions.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said McDonnell’s appeal raises a substantial question of law or fact that could warrant reversal or a new trial.

Special coverage: The McDonnel corruption trial

The court also ordered that briefs in the case be filed by March 2 and set a May 12 hearing.

DOCUMENT: U.S. Court of Appeals 

A jury last year found McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of taking gifts and loans from a vitamin executive in exchange for promoting his products.

McDonnell was scheduled to begin his two-year prison term Feb. 9.

Federal prosecutors had opposed McDonnell’s request to remain free on bail pending his appeal.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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