The likelihood of conviction on these new charges means members of the House of Delegates now have new justification (and protection) to boot the jailbird legislator from the body.[read_more]
Spotsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely, who was appointed as special prosecutor in the case against disgraced child predator Democrat Del. Joe Morrissey (who now caucuses by himself), has announced new grand jury indictments against him. The new indictments stem from allegedly faked documents used by Morrissey to defend against child sex charges. Neely’s press release is embedded below. The felony charges on forgery, inducement to perjury, and conspiracy to utter a forged record carry penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
As reported by The Bull Elephant here and here, Joe Morrissey’s having stood for re-election as an independent complicates the House of Delegates’ efforts to remove him from office. First, it is politically difficult to remove someone who was just elected by his consituents, who knew of his misconduct and voted for him anyway. Second, as Dave Webster initially reported here, there is a significant legal hurdle to removing a sitting legislator for past, as opposed to “current,” misconduct. These new charges remove that obstacle.
According to General Assembly sources, House members and Speaker Howell had some idea that these charges might be forthcoming, and plan to rely on them to finally remove Morrissey as a stain on the world’s oldest continuously operating democratic legislative body.
Stay tuned. Should be interesting how this unfolds, but it’s clear now that ole’ Joe has been too clever by half.