Supreme Court to determine reach of bribery laws in McDonnell case

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court could place new limits on the reach of federal bribery laws used to prosecute elected officials as it takes up the public corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. The justices on Wednesday will consider whether to overturn McDonnell’s conviction for accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement. The court is expected to clarify what distinguishes bribery from routine actions that politicians perform as a courtesy to constituents. McDonnell says his role in setting up meetings and hosting events for Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams was part of the customary services doled out by every politician. Prosecutors say McDonnell accepted personal benefits with the understanding he would take official action to help Williams.

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