In a stunning reversal of fortune, the US Supreme Court on Monday overturned the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. In doing so, the High Court rejected the government’s broad definition of an “official act” that can support a bribery charge.
Womble Carlyle White Collar Criminal Defense attorney Mark Schamel has followed the McDonnell case closely, and he discussed the Supreme Court’s ruling with Law360.com.
“Today, the Supreme Court sent a very clear message to the Department of Justice regarding prosecutions of elected officials. The court’s decision is a great step to reining in prosecutorial overreach. Requiring public officials to ‘take an action’ on something that is specific and pending, is a common sense reading that prosecutors have long sought to avoid. The court is finally injecting some practical common sense and plain reading of the statutory language back into political prosecutions and ending the ‘boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute,’” Schamel said.
Mark Schamel focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense, government investigations and is based in Womble Carlyle’s Washington, DC office. Schamel has represented clients in high-profile cases, both in the Washington, DC, and in federal and state courthouses across the country.