RICHMOND, Va. -- Former Governor Bob McDonnell called Thursday a “great day” and said “the final day of vindication has arrived” in a statement supplied to the media after prosecutors decided not to retry his case.
McDonnell’s longtime friend, Republican Delegate John O’Bannon from the 73rd House District, said McDonnell did not deserve to go to jail.
“We have a judicial system and a legal system and that system is designed with checks and balances and in this case I think that system worked,” O’Bannon said.
However, one of the jurors who convicted McDonnell, Kathleen Carmody, said he will never be vindicated in her mind.
She said she’s extremely disappointed and frustrated.
“It’s as if we never did anything at all… I did feel strongly that they were guilty and yes now today nothing, it’s all overturned, it’s all gone,” Carmody said.
Carmody disagrees with O’Bannon and said after this experience, she believes the system needs to be overhauled.
“It seems like the fox is guarding the chicken house. The politicians have to change it,” Carmody said.
As for Virginia taxpayers, they’re just as divided as Carmody and O’Bannon on whether justice was served.
“I definitely feel like he should have been held accountable, but I don’t think I expected him to be because he’s got power and that’s what matters,” Natalia Mello said.
"I must have the absolute faith in our justice system to decide what is right or wrong," said David Koslow. "Did he do right or did he do wrong... Because if I don’t trust the justice system, I really can’t trust any kind of authority.”
In June 2016, the Supreme Court unanimously threw out McDonnell's conviction on corruption charges.
The 8-0 decision had left open the possibility that McDonnell could be retried, writing that the jury may not have been correctly instructed.
Governor Terry McAuliffe also released a statement, in which he said "Moving on from this episode is the right thing to do for the McDonnell family and for the Commonwealth of Virginia."
"I agree with the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Governor Bob McDonnell or his wife Maureen any further," said McAuliffe. "Governor McDonnell made mistakes and he apologized and paid a significant price"