Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Eli Richardson provided comments for a Law360 article that published attorneys' reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on federal corruption charges. With its decision, the Supreme Court rejected the government's broad definition of an "official act" for purposes of the federal bribery statute. Eli provided the following insights:
McDonell's effect upon the federal bribery statute, Section 201, is clear: McDonnell curtailed the statute's scope by narrowing the definition of 'official acts.' However, McDonnell has not necessarily narrowed the scope of the statutes under which Gov. McDonnell actually was charged. He was charged not with federal bribery, but rather with Hobbs Acts violations and honest-services fraud. In McDonnell, the government agreed to define those two crimes in terms of Section 201(a)(3)'s definition of 'official acts.' Since that backfired, going forward the government likely will eschew any such agreement and instead exercise its prerogative to prosecute those crimes without any reference to Section 201's now-narrow definition of 'official acts.'
The full article, "Attorneys React To High Court's Political Bribery Ruling," was published by Law360 on June 27, 2016, and is available online.