Gov. McAuliffe reacts after Supreme Court overturns McDonnell convictions

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/AP) — 10 On Your Side spoke to Gov.Terry McAuliffe Monday after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Supreme Court overturns McDonnell corruption conviction

McAuliffe was in Norfolk on Monday for a ceremonial signing of the Military Medics and Corpsmen bill. He told WAVY.com at the time, the Supreme Court ruling is a step in the right direction. However, the case is not over yet.

“From day one, I have been very sympathetic to Gov. McDonnell,” said McAuliffe. “My thoughts and prayers have been with Bob and his family. I have continually outreached to Governor Mcdonnell during my time as governor. We’ll see what the 4th Circuit does. But, I think this is one more step toward closure on this. And I think that’s what we all want.”

McAuliffe added, he put a $100 gift ban on himself, his family, cabinet and administration once he took office, which has since become law.

“We have passed comprehensive reform here,” said McAuliffe. “And let’s be honest, we needed it. I mean in the old days, you could give anyone anything you wanted.”

McAuliffe released a full statement after the Supreme Court ruled in McDonnell’s favor, which you can read in full below:

Governor Bob McDonnell and his family have remained in my thoughts and prayers throughout this episode. The Governor made mistakes and has apologized, but the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that his trial should not have resulted in a criminal conviction. It is my hope that today’s ruling is the beginning of the end of this difficult process for our Commonwealth.”

Several other officials reacted to Monday’s ruling. Find their statements below:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States should come as a relief, not only to Governor McDonnell and his family, but to the people of Virginia. As became clear during oral arguments in April, the verdict against Governor McDonnell would have had far reaching effects had it been allowed to stand.” – Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment.

“Bob will be the first to tell you he takes responsibility for his actions, but he is a good man with an honest heart. I have always been proud to call him my friend. Throughout this process, and even in the darkest hour, the depth of Bob’s character was on full display. His faith never wavered. He was a source of strength to his family. And he lifted the spirits of his friends and supporters when we should have been lifting his. Above all, his belief in the justice system persevered. That belief, and Bob McDonnell, were vindicated today.” – Republican Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell.

“This narrow reading of the law will seriously impede law enforcement’s efforts to clamp down on corruption. The Supreme Court essentially just told elected officials that they are free to sell access to their office to the highest bidder. If you want the government to listen to you, you had better be prepared to pay up.” – Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

“Today’s ruling makes it even more difficult to protect our democracy from attempts by officeholders to peddle political access and influence to the highest bidder. This entire case could have been avoided if Virginia had taken the necessary and vital steps to prohibit the receipt of huge gifts from people who have business before the government.” – Tara Malloy, deputy executive director for the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center.

“In today’s climate, to have an 8-0 ruling is astounding … We know that the kind of things that Bob McDonnell did were not criminal and were not within any common sense definition of ‘official acts.’ There was never any quid pro quo. So I am delighted today to see a united Supreme Court on something that’s so important to the democratic process and so important to Gov. McDonnell and his family.” – Former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley.

“In the government’s case, arranging a meeting, making a phone call, all of these routine acts that all officeholders do and should do for their constituents, they were all subject to criminal prosecution if somebody could make the case that they were done because of a campaign contribution or some other gift. It was that kind of immense federal overreaching that really engendered the political process.” – Former Virginia Attorney General William Hurd.

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