CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell criticized Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the criminal investigations into former President Donald Trump's actions regarding Jan. 6, 2021 and the mishandling of classified documents, during a recent CNN interview.

In 2014, McDonnell was indicted by Smith for public corruption while serving as governor of Virginia. Two years later, the Supreme Court unanimously threw out the convictions.

"I thought he was overzealous," said McDonnell.

McDonnell also said he thought Smith had a propensity to stretch the law in high-profile cases.

"I sometimes cite the Bob McDonnell case as an example of just how difficult it’s become to convict politicians or former politicians in these kinds of cases," said Kyle Kondik with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Kondik understands that the cases against Trump are much different. But he and his colleague Dr. Larry Sabato say Trump's strategy may be the same in that he may appeal these cases to the Supreme Court just like McDonnell did.

"I'm looking at it as a Republican. And, if I were solely political, I'd say they are putting him out of business and so he can't campaign because they don't want him to win," said McDonnell.

But as a former attorney general of Virginia, McDonnell says that’s not the way the justice system works.

"Our whole premise of the American justice system, that we all learned our first year in law school, is the rule of law. We treat everybody ... the law has no respect for person, whether you’re president or whether you're homeless," said McDonnell.

McDonnell says Trump isn't his first choice come 2024. McDonnell would like to see Governor Glenn Youngkin submit a bid for the White House.