* WGN TV…
Today’s Supreme Court ruling could greatly benefit former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The High Court made it harder for prosecutors to use federal fraud statues.
Today’s case involved former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2014. He was found to have received gifts, money and loans in exchange for official acts.
The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision vacated McDonnell’s conviction. The justices were concerned that federal laws allow prosecutors to mistake common favors with criminal acts.
So the justices defined what an official act is. How does this connect to former Governor Blagojevich? He was convicted of bribery, attempted extortion, and wire fraud — some of that related to the trade of President Obama’s old Senate seat.
Under this ruling, perhaps Mr. Blagojevich’s actions could be seen as business as usual not a felony. In the Blagojevich case, no money exchanged hands. In the case of Governor McDonnell, there was money involved: $175,000 in gifts. All legal.
* Not so, according to the Tribune…
“It really doesn’t change anything,” said Blagojevich’s lawyer, Leonard Goodman. “I don’t think this will be a primary focus.” […]
The Supreme Court vacated the 2014 conviction on fraud and extortion charges against McDonnell, who accepted more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from a wealthy businessman. The high court’s opinion hinged on the definition of what should be considered an “official act” of a public official. The Supreme Court ruled that while McDonnell’s actions were “distasteful” and “tawdry,” the government overreached in its “boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”
But the “official act” element does not apply in the Blagojevich case, Goodman said.
“Those legal issues are not really front and center at the resentencing,” Goodman said. “That’s really our main focus right now: trying to bring him home to his family.”
* More from CNN…
“I think that some of the language in it and the concerns about government over-reaching are helpful,” Goodman said. “(But) I think that the narrow issue they looked at about the meaning of an official act is not directly on point with our case.”