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Judge issues 90-day injunction barring removal of Robert E. Lee statue

Posted at 10:56 AM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 13:08:54-04

RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia judge has dissolved one injunction but imposed another preventing Virginia's governor from removing an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The new 90-day injunction bars the statue’s removal while claims in a lawsuit filed by a group of Richmond property owners are litigated.

The lawsuit, filed by longtime Monument Avenue resident Helen Taylor, Evan Morgan Massey, Janet Heltzel, George D. Hostetler, and John-Lawrence Smith, argues that removing the monument could reduce property values, similar to their initial lawsuit.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a pending motion to dismiss the case.

"Attorney General Herring remains committed to ensuring this divisive, antiquated relic is removed as soon as possible," the Office of the Attorney General said in a statement.

Gov. Ralph Northam responded to the latest injunction on Twitter Monday morning.

"Make no mistake, the Lee monument will come down. And Virginia will be better for it," he tweeted.

The judge also dismissed the lawsuit filed by William C. Gregory, who is the great-grandson of one of the original families that signed over the monument. He alleged that Gov. Northam and Virginia officials failed to protect the Lee Monument grounds and that plans to remove the statue violate the original agreement.

Northam announced plans to remove the statue in early June, citing the pain felt across the country about the death of George Floyd.