Virginia judge accused of talks with prosecutor recuses self

LANCASTER, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge accused of inappropriate pretrial talks with the prosecution has recused himself from a case against a Richmond man on trial for manslaughter in a fatal boating crash.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Wednesday that Judge R. Michael McKenney was accused of having prior conversations with the prosecutor, saying he’d made up his mind that a plea agreement was the best way to proceed.

Someone related to the case wrote to the judge, saying the prosecutor had told him McKenney determined there wasn’t enough evidence to convict.

McKenney denied the accusations but handed off the case.

Investigators say defendant John Randolph Hooper was involved in the crash in August 2017. Thirty-one-year-old Graham McCormick died. In April 2018, McCormick’s family settled a lawsuit for $4 million alleging Hooper boated drunk.

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