Joe Morrissey conceded in his legal agreement (a so-called Alford plea), that the evidence presented by the prosecution would likely support a conviction. In Morrissey’s case, that would include felony charges of child pornography and other charges stemming from an alleged relationship with a teenage employee.[read_more]
Joe Morrissey has a long history of unsavory conduct.
Democrat Del. Joseph D. Morrissey was disbarred and lost his law license in 2003 after attacking a man — beating him with a large ring around his finger.
According to legal brief filed on behalf of the victim, Morrissey shouted, “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to beat your head in,” and then attempted to make good on his promise.
When the man attempted to escape his beating, Morrissey “smashed his head into the corner of a brick wall,” according to a court filing by the victim’s lawyers.
Morrissey ended up paying $500,000 in punitive and compensatory damages to his victim in that case. But that was hardly his first run-in with the law, and it wasn’t the first time he had been disbarred. The first time was in 1993 after a rape victim complained of misconduct in his prosecution of her attacker. That came after he was sanctioned for misconduct in a felony drunk driving case. He was later disbarred for three years in 1999 for making “public statements about the identity, testimony or credibility of prospective witnesses” in a federal case. According to The Daily Caller,
Morrissey was convicted on two counts of contempt of court in that case, and sentenced to 90 days in jail plus three years of probation. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia also disbarred him, effectively denying him future access to plead cases in federal court.
The state bar also reprimanded Morrissey for a fist fight with a defendant’s lawyer in a case he was prosecuting, and also forced Morrissey to receive ethics training after leaving his job as a prosecutor and later representing in private practice a defendant in the same case he had previously prosecuted.
In a separate case that contributed to that suspension of his law license, Morrissey was cited for contempt in Chesterfield County, Va. after he directed an angry outburst at a judge during a sentencing hearing.
After he was released from jail, Morrissey violated the terms of his probation by “attempting to circumvent the conditions of probation and lying to [his] probation officer,” according to the Virginia State Bar. As a result, he spent an additional 90 days in jail and his law license was formally revoked.
Then, in 2011, despite objections from the Virginia State Bar that recommended that he be denied reinstatement because of “a broad assortment of alleged violations including fist fights and disrespectful conduct,” the Virginia Supreme Court nonetheless restored his license, over the objections of three dissenting justices.
With a history like that, it came as little surprise when Morrissey was found with a 17-year-old girl in his house in 2013, sparking the investigation which led to his indictment earlier this year on felony charges of supervisory indecent liberties with a minor, electronic solicitation of a minor, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. He was also charged with a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Morrissey entered what is known as an Alford plea, pursuant to which a defendant does not admit the charges, but does admit the prosecution has evidence likely sufficient to secure a conviction. In Morrissey’s case, that evidence is pretty damning.
WARNING: some of this is pretty explicit. Stop reading if you don’t have the stomach for it. (Profanity redacted with dashes).
- A former aide of Morrissey’s has allegedly indicated Morrissey bragged to both his attorney and the aide—after police had found the victim at his house—that the victim had been sending him sexually explicit photos of herself, which he then forwarded to a friend.
- The victim allegedly told an investigator that, after an August 20, 2013 Farm Bureau dinner which she attended with Morrissey, he took her back to his office where she initiated kissing and mutual sexual fondling with him.
- A recorded conversation with family members intervening to convince her to break off the relationship with the 55-year-old Morrissey allegedly has the victim admitting that Morrissey had penetrated her sexually.
- Evidence of a text from Morrissey to a long-time friend reading, “Hey, buddy I just f—-d her on my conference table and again on the floor for good measure!” on August 20. This would appear to be related to the incident of the alleged “OMG! I just f—-d my boss!” text conversation Morrissey read aloud on live TV at a press conference after his indictment.
- Evidence of the following text message exchange between the 55-year-old Morrissey and the 17-year-old victim early the following morning:
- Victim: “I woke up this morning and got in the shower and I was thinking about last night, which was wonderful. Now I’m laying here completely naked water dripping off my body and my hair dripping just fantasizing about what you would do to me right now.”
- Morrissey: “I wish I was there NOW! Your right, last night was great. Btw, how much time do you want me to spend caressing n luck inking you before I put my —- inside you?
- Morrissey: “a pic you lying there fantasizing about me f—–g you… send me a pic and then I’m gonna call you.”
- Victim: (attaching a nude photo of herself) “You got me with a fresh face (no makeup) and a fresh body.”
- Morrissey: “GORGEOUS… simply GORGEOUS!!I could eat you… but then again I did already!”
- Evidence of a friend of Morrisey having received a nude photo of the victim via text message from Morrissey on August 21. This would be the same nude photo the victim had sent to Morrissey earlier that day.
- Evidence that the same friend replied to Morrissey by texting, “U ARE SO LUCKY… CONGREATULATIONS BROTHER” [sic]
Morrissey has stated publicly that he maintains his innocence, and that he believes he will ultimately be able to show that he is the victim of cellphone hacking. In July, he identified the alleged hacker as one Brittney McKenney. Morrissey suggested he would initiate civil litigation against those he claims are responsible. We do not have full details of whatever evidence Morrissey thinks he would be able to bring to light that would overcome the apparently forensically sound evidence to the contrary, but he did say this to the Times-Dispatch:
Morrissey also said investigators are aware that there is a recording the receptionist made of a former friend describing how she hacked into cellphones to plant false information and pictures.
The prosecutor soundly rejected such assertions:
Special prosecutor William Neely said that had the case gone to trial, the prosecution’s experts would have testified that the cellphones of Morrissey and the then-17-year-old girl placed them together at the time the sexual relations between the two allegedly occurred in August 2013.
Neely emphatically stressed that the prosecution’s evidence would have shown that both Morrissey and the girl sent text messages stating that the two had had sexual intercourse the night of Aug. 20, 2013.
If Morrissey had solid evidence of his innocence, it is unclear why he would enter into a plea agreement, so it seems at least somewhat likely that there would be difficulty in proving his side of the story.
The prosecutor also indicated to the Times-Dispatch that he would be forwarding investigative documents to the Virginia State Bar, so we might see Morrissey disbarred, again.
All of the text messages introduced for evidence among Joe Morrissey, Myrna Pride, Brittney McKenney (ex-girlfriend), Deidre Warren (Myrna’s mother) and other friends, can be found on a timeline here. Again, caution and a strong stomach are advised.
Myrna’s Mother, Deidre Warren (now indicted on felony charges) photo: