Morrissey’s attorney alleges misconduct

Posted at 1:20 PM, Nov 27, 2013

HENRICO COUNTY, Va (WTVR) - The lawyer for Virginia State Delegate Joe Morrissey (D - Henrico)  alleges Henrico County prosecutors and police tried to influence the teenage girl involved in an investigation into his client.

In a letter to Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor, attorney Tony Troy wrote, "Your inquiry has expanded beyond any investigation of the facts to the point of now attempting to create facts."

Police are investigating Morrissey's relationship with a teenage girl, who police found at his home back in August.  The girl's father called police, concerned about his 17-year-old daughter being over at the 56-year-old Morrissey's home.

In the letter, Troy said no sexual activity occurred between his client and the girl.  Morrissey has not been charged with a crime.

On Wednesday, Taylor confirmed that she received the letter, but could not comment on it.  Taylor added that her office has not been involved in the investigation since last Monday, when a special prosecutor was assigned.

William Neely, the Commonwealth's Attorney in Spotsylvania County, has been assigned to handle the Morrissey investigation.  Neely said he is scheduled to meet with Henrico detectives on December 3 to discuss the case, but has not had any contact with investigators yet.  Neely plans to make a decision on what to do moving forward after that meeting.

Morrissey's attorney also raised concerns over Neely's bias towards his client in the letter to Taylor.  According to Troy, Neely asked the Virginia State Bar to deny Morrissey's reinstatement as a practicing attorney after Morrissey lost his law license.

Neely acknowledged that he wrote to the State Bar last year, but said it would not affect his ability to handle the case fairly.

On Wednesday, Troy said everyone in Morrissey's legal office believed the girl involved this case was in fact 22 years old.  Back in September, the teenager's lawyer said she lied about her age to get a job in Morrissey's law office. Documents obtained by CBS 6 confirm the claim.

"This kind of helps put some ideas out there to help shape public perception for an elected official, but from a legal perspective, it really doesn't mean much," CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said about Troy's letter to Taylor.

"It's normal for prosecutors and police officers to try to encourage reluctant witnesses.  I don't know if that's the situation here, but if that is the case, it's very normal; it's acceptable; and the law supports them doing that," added Stone.

Morrissey and his lawyer have said the girl was at his house discussing a legal matter.