McDonnell Asks Court for More Latitude on Appeal

     RICHMOND, Va. (CN) – Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell began the process of appealing his corruption convictions Wednesday by asking the court for expanded word limits and extended argument time to make his case.
     In his motion, McDonnell urges that an additional 50 percent briefing and argument time is necessary in order to accommodate “complex issues” pertaining to a six-week trial involving 69 witnesses, 799 exhibits and more than 6,000 pages of transcripts. His lawyers request that the motion be expedited.
     “Increased briefing and argument time will ensure that the Court has the proper factual context for the numerous legal and factual issues that will be presented,” McDonnell’s motion says.
     Among of the “complex issues” alluded to in the motion is the question whether McDonnell acted in official capacity when he accepted more than $165,000 from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for bolstering research funding for the vitamin supplement Antabloc. McDonnell was convicted of these charges, and was scheduled to begin his two year prison sentence on Feb. 9. On Tuesday, the 4th Circuit said McDonnell will remain free throughout the appeals process.
     McDonnell says he will contextualize the “five specific actions,” and challenge the “official acts” issue in his appeal. He also plans to address whether pretrial publicity affected jury partiality insomuch as to warrant a trial error.
     “Mr. McDonnell will vigorously challenge his convictions before the appellate courts because he did not violate any federal law,” according to a statement released by McDonnell’s attorneys. “The docketing statement is a filing lawyers submit at the beginning of every appeal in which they provide a preliminary list of some of the issues they may raise on appeal. Today’s filing marks the beginning of that process.”

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