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Attorneys argue special grand jury broke law in Morrissey indictment

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — State Delegate Joe Morrissey appeared in a Henrico courtroom Friday.

The lawmaker is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenager who worked for him at his law office.

Last month, Morrissey  entered a not-guilty plea to those charges and requested a jury trial.

The Democrat and his team of attorneys appeared in Henrico Circuit Court. Morrissey’s six attorneys want the four felonies and one misdemeanor he is facing thrown out.

Morrissey is accused of indecent liberties with a minor and possession of child pornography among other charges after an alleged relationship with his underage receptionist at his law firm last year.

The teenager in question says nothing happened between her and Morrissey, but prosecutors say they have evidence that proves the two had a sexual relationship.

Attorneys argue that the special grand jury which indicted Morrissey was a violation of Virginia law.

Morrissey’s defense team also contend the special prosecutor appointed to handle the case, William Neely, is biased against Mr. Morrissey.

Defense attorneys argue that Neely was motivated in the past to prevent Morrissey from practicing law in Virginia and that there is an element of vindictiveness in the case which will taint the prosecution.

Prosecutor Neely told Judge Martin Bass he did have professional disdain for Morrissey for past indiscretions and holds no personal animosity and sees nothing improper in handling the case.

Judge Bass dismissed a motion by Neely to move the Dec. 15  court date. Neely was concerned the date falls to close to the beginning of the General Assembly session in January. One of Morrissey’s attorneys is State Senator William Stanley from Franklin County.

Following the two and a half hour hearing, Joe Morrissey raced past reporters refusing to comment.

The 56-year-old democrat represents parts of Henrico in the Virginia General Assembly.

If convicted, Morrissey could face up to 30 years in prison.



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