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EXCLUSIVE
2016 Election
Updated 5 years ago

Bob McDonnell Says He Feels Vindicated After Corruption Conviction Overturned

Former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell told NBC News’ Chuck Todd that he feels vindicated by the Supreme Court ruling overturning his corruption conviction.
Image: Bob McDonnell
FILE - In this April 27, 2016 file photo, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Federal prosecutors say they are moving to drop corruption charges against McDonnell. U.S. Attorney Dana Boente????????s office said Thursday, Sept. 8 that prosecutors will not pursue another trial in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that overturned the former governor????????s corruption conviction. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Andrew Harnik / AP

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told NBC News’ Chuck Todd that he feels vindicated by the Supreme Court ruling overturning his corruption conviction and he “never believed that anything that I did was wrong or illegal.”

“Liberals and conservatives agreeing that this was an improper application of the federal statutes - that they were overboard...I know in my heart, Chuck, I never believed that anything that I did was wrong or illegal,” McDonnell said in an exclusive interview airing on MSNBC’s "MTP Daily" on Friday.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday they wouldn’t attempt to retry McDonnell on public corruption charges. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out his bribery conviction.

Charges against McDonnell's wife, Maureen, will also be dismissed, the prosecution said Thursday.

In 2014, the former governor was convicted by a jury for accepting $175,000 in money and luxury goods from a businessman in his state who sought assistance in convincing two state universities to research a tobacco-based diet supplement.

“I complied with state reporting statutes, I set up meetings for donors, non-donors, thousands of times, so that I thought that I was trying to help this Virginia business do something that was good for the people,” McDonnell said.

Asked if he felt vindicated by the Supreme Court's decision, McDonnell said, "I do."

The businessman also wrote checks to cover the cost of catering McDonnell’s daughter's wedding and help pay down credit card and real estate debts. The gifts included a Rolex watch, $20,000 worth of designer clothes for Maureen McDonnell, the use of a country club, a vacation home, and a Ferrari sports car.

A lower court found McDonnell guilty of accepting the gifts and loans in exchange for performing "official acts" as governor.

However, earlier this year the Supreme Court said the prosecution was overly broad in its definition when it included setting up meetings and hosting events.

"Public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf, and include them in events all the time," it said.

Related: Federal Prosecutors Won't Retry Former Va. Gov. McDonnell