Former Del. Morrissey accused of presenting ‘knowingly false’ defense

WASHINGTON — Virginia State Bar Association investigators said former Del. Joe Morrissey fought his sex scandal with a “knowingly false” defense.

Morrissey had said that the nude photos and incriminating messages on his phone of the 17-year-old staffer who worked in his law firm were put there by the woman’s jilted lover who had hacked his phone.

But the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports investigators called the defense a “fraud perpetrated on the court” in recent court filings.

The agency argued that the hacked phone defense was an afterthought and Morrissey had originally considered arguing that he had not known his staffer, Myrna Warren, was underage.

However, evidence presented by investigators showed Morrissey had worked to cover up the scandal by listening in on discussions between investigators and the girl’s family. The court documents also included case notes prepared by the politician and his lawyers and other testimony provided by his former legislative aide.

Morrissey can’t face any criminal charges for perjury because of a plea deal he agreed to that turned the felony charges against him into a misdemeanor. He had served three months in jail. The Virginia State Bar Association can suspend his law license if it is found that he committed fraud.

Morrissey and Warren, who is now 20 years old, got married earlier this year and have two children.

Morrissey is currently running for mayor of Richmond. He had served in the House of Delegates as a Democrat until he resigned. He then ran as an independent for the seat he had vacated  while in prison and won. He stepped down to run for a state senate seat last year, from which he would later withdraw.

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