HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Delegate Joe Morrissey (D – Henrico) announced his resignation Thursday morning.
Morrissey said there will be a special election on January 13. He also said he will run for his seat in the General Assembly again in that election.
Virginia’s Speaker of the House William Howell slammed Morrissey for his actions.
“Mr. Morrissey’s decision to run in this election is deceitful, selfish and disrespectful to this institution and the people he supposedly desires to serve,” Howell said. “This is a despicable, arrogant political stunt that should disgust each and every citizen of Virginia. The people of the 74th district deserve better than this and the obligation now rests with them to retire Mr. Morrissey permanently.”
Morrissey’s spirits remained high on Wednesday before his announcement, despite being sentenced to one year in jail with 6 months suspended to be served on work release. Under the work release programs, the delegate will be required to Henrico County Jail East each night by 7:30 p.m.
“I am in a real good place right now,” Morrissey told 8News reporter Parker Slaybaugh in an exclusive interview. “I am very comfortable with my choice, I am very confident with it and I absolutely feel in my heart that I am going to make the right decision.”
Morrissey entered an Alford plea in court on December 12 to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to court documents. His charges stems from accusations that he was involved in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Morrissey originally faced four felony charges, but those were withdrawn by prosecutors when he entered an Alford plea. An Alford plea does not mean that Morrissey is admitting guilt. Rather, it acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence for a conviction.
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