RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- Federal prosecutors moved on Thursday to drop the corruption case against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Former First Lady Maureen McDonnell.
Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided to overturn the governor's conviction for corruption, which left prosecutors with the decision on whether or not to try him again.
"That’s up to the government, I think at this point," McDonnell previously told reporters. "I am hopeful that the case will come to an end and I can go back and serve the people in maybe a little bit different way."
In two separate motions filed Thursday -- one for Bob McDonnell and one for Maureen McDonnell -- US Attorney Dana J. Boente requested that the court "dismiss the indictment with prejudice under Fed. R. Crim. P. 48(a). The defendant does not oppose this motion."
In a press release, Boente added, "After carefully considering the Supreme Court’s recent decision and the principles of federal prosecution, we have made the decision not to pursue the case further. The department thanks the trial team and its investigative partners for their outstanding work on this case."
McDonnell and his attorneys issued a lengthy statement following Thursday's motion:
In another statement, Maureen McDonnell's lawyer said:
Maureen has maintained, from the outset, that neither she nor her husband would ever betray the trust of the people of this Commonwealth. She has waited and prayed for this day for the last three years. In these hardest years of her life she has been sustained by her faith in the Lord, the bonds of her family, and the loyalty of her friends.
"Mrs. McDonnell is looking forward to the days ahead. She will be serving with some non-profits, re-planting her roots in the Hampton Roads community, and cherishing her time with her family, including her four grandchildren. She will be forever grateful for this day, a day that marks a fresh start for both Governor and Mrs. McDonnell, and a day where they can shift their focus from the legal battle that has consumed them to giving back to the Commonwealth that has meant so much to them."
A judge still has to approve the motion for the charges against the McDonnells to formally be dismissed.
“It’s really a formality,” explained 13News Now Legal Analyst Kevin Duffan. “The District Court isn’t going to have another hearing about this. The District Court, on motion of the prosecution will dismiss the charges. That is what we’re going to see and when that has happened officially, that is when Gov. McDonnell is going to be exonerated and no more charges will be brought against him.”
We wanted to know if this was a surprising decision.
“No, not after the unanimous Supreme Court verdict, it was not surprising at all,” Duffan responded. “What would have been more surprising was if the prosecution team would have then decided to retry Gov. McDonnell on some other type of charges.”