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Judge won’t dismiss Lee statue lawsuit; case heads for trial

Isaiah Bowen, Garth Bowen
Posted at 4:37 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 17:46:23-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A judge has ruled that a lawsuit seeking to prevent Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee can proceed.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant's decision clears the way for a trial on October 19.

The third case filed by Monument Avenue residents seeks to block removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.

The state had asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

He mostly rejected that request, although he did narrow the claims that can proceed.

"Attorney General Herring and his team have worked for months to defend against these cases and will continue to do so," Office of the Attorney General Press Secretary Charlotte P.L. Gomer. "Attorney General Herring remains committed to ensuring this divisive and antiquated relic of a bygone era is removed as quickly as possible."

Northam announced plans to remove the massive state-owned statue in June after the death of George Floyd. The statue was unveiled in 1890 at a time when Jim Crow racial segregation laws were on the rise.