RICHMOND, Va. -- Attorney General Mark Herring filed a motion on Wednesday, requesting that Richmond Circuit Court consolidate two lawsuits concerning the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from Monument Avenue.
In June, a lawsuit temporarily halted plans to remove the statue of the Confederate general from Monument Avenue based on the original land deed signed in 1890.
The lawsuit, filed by William Gregory, who is the great-grandson of one of the original families that signed over the monument, alleges that Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia officials have failed to protect the Lee Monument grounds and that plans to remove the statue violate the original agreement.
In a separate lawsuit, longtime Monument Avenue resident Helen Taylor and several property owners who wished to remain anonymous, are also attempting to block the removal of the Lee statue.
Charlotte Gomer, a spokeswoman for Herring, said the attorney general remains committed to ensuring the removal of the Lee statue as soon as possible and he believes this is the fastest way to resolve the matter.
“Having the claims litigated separately would result in the Commonwealth litigating the Governor’s right to remove the Lee statue twice, causing substantial delays and significant duplicative costs for the parties and the Court," Herring said in the motion.
Gomer went on to say that Herring believes the Governor Northam has the "moral and legal authority" to remove the Lee statue.
Additionally, Herring has filed a Motion Craving Oyer demanding that the anonymous plaintiffs produce documentation supporting their claims that they have standing to challenge the Governor’s statue removal.
"Since the plaintiffs have hidden behind anonymity, we currently do not have any way to evaluate who they are or if they have actually standing," Gomer wrote in a release.
A hearing has been set in the Taylor case in Richmond Circuit Court for Thursday afternoon.
It is expected that the motion to consolidate will be heard at that time also.