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​Del. Joseph Morrissey faces new felony charges

Newly re-elected delegate could face punishment

Adam Ebbin's 47th Birthday Party and Fundraiser held at the home of Greg Greeley
Adam Ebbin's 47th Birthday Party and Fundraiser held at the home of Greg Greeley

Newly re-elected Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, I-Henrico, was indicted Wednesday on four felony counts just weeks after surrendering his seat following a misdemeanor conviction for taking “indecent liberties” with his 17-year old receptionist.

Morrissey, who is also known for a 1993 courthouse fistfight with another lawyer, was reelected in a special election earlier this month as an Independent. He resigned his seat in the General Assembly as a Democrat when details of the alleged sexual misconduct first emerged. Morrissey’s lawyers circumvented the prosecution’s efforts to find him guilty of much graver crimes — child pornography and soliciting a minor — during his first trial.

Producing a child support agreement penned for the woman, who is pregnant, Morrissey claimed he was providing legal advice, not sex, to the minor.

Last week, however, a grand jury indicted the state politician on four felony counts, saying Morrissey forged those documents, lied under oath, and persuaded the girl’s mother to lie in court. The mother has been indicted with three felony counts, with similar charges of forgery and perjury.

Morrissey can reduce his six-month sentence of contributing to the delinquency of a minor by earning “good time” credit every day he serves in the General Assembly. He spends his nights in jail.

House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has stripped Morrissey of his committee assignments. Howell said in a statement the new charges may lead Virginia’s House of Delegates to pursue more sanctioning options for Morrissey.

“This is a truly painful and embarrassing chapter for the oldest continuously operating legislative body in the new world,” Howell said. “The House will evaluate these new indictments as it pertains to disciplinary action. As I have said before, we are considering all options as we determine the appropriate path forward for the House of Delegates as an institution and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”