WASHINGTON — Having already delivered him a reprieve from reporting to prison, the Supreme Court announced Friday that it would decide whether former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell was rightly convicted of corruption for his efforts on behalf of a businessman who bestowed money and gifts on the governor and his family.

McDonnell’s lawyers had told the court that if his “routine political courtesies” to Richmond businessman Jonnie Williams could be construed as felonies, it would make vulnerable all politicians and arm federal prosecutors “with a frightening degree of control over the political process.”

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted in 2014 for intervening with state officials on Williams’s behalf in exchange for $177,000 in loans, vacations and luxury goods. The former governor was sentenced to two years in prison; Maureen McDonnell received a year and a day.

Both, though, were allowed out on bond with their appeals pending. McDonnell’s conviction was upheld by a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, while Maureen McDonnell’s appeal has been put on hold at that court.

The Justice Department argued there was nothing about the conviction of McDonnell – a one-time rising star in the Republican Party who finished his term in disgrace – that warranted the high court’s attention.

His claims about overzealous prosecution and the threats his conviction held for other officeholders were hyperbole, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued.