McDonnell Case at High Court Will Test Reach of Bribery Laws

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File Image: Bob McDonnell holding a press conferece File Image: Bob McDonnell holding a press conferece

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court will decide how far politicians can go in doing favors for people who give them money as it takes up the public corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The justices in their final argument of the term on Wednesday will consider the appeal of McDonnell, who was convicted accepting more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement.

At issue is what distinguishes bribery from routine actions that public officials perform for constituents.

McDonnell says his conduct in helping Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams never crossed the legal line into "official action."

Solicitor General Don Verrilli says McDonnell accepted personal benefits with the understanding that he would take official action to help Williams.

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