HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Investigators searched the law office of Del. Joe Morrissey for evidence of forged records and a perjury plot, according to warrants made public on Tuesday.
The search warrants in Henrico Circuit Court show detectives searched the law offices Monday of both Del. Morrissey and of Sherri Thaxton, who represents the alleged victim in Morrissey's contributing to the delinquency of a minor case. They were looking for evidence related to allegations of conspiracy to commit forgery and utter a forged record. According to NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin, it's a class 4 felony.
Several documents and computers were seized from the offices. The warrant alleges Morrissey's defense team used a "forged and fraudulent document" as evidence when he was sentenced in December. The document was entered as a copy of a Consent Order of a Child Support Agreement, but authorities says the document is not authentic.
the alleged child support documents involve the father of the teenager he was charged with being involved with sexually. Morrissey says he entered a child support document into evidence to show the alleged victim's father, Coleman Pride, owed thousands in back child support. Morrissey and the teen's mother have always maintained there was no affair. According
to the affidavit, Morrissey's legal team submitted the alleged forged document as evidence and claimed it was filed at the Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Courthouse. But the detective points out in the affidavit, a court official noticed several irregularities: including "...no Judge or Mediator's signature on the signature page," and "...no ink stamps from the Chesterfield JDR that would shot that it was a certified copy" and there is a "...complete absence of the original document in the Chesterfield JDR's files." Pride backs up the court records. "The document he's speaking on is a fabricated lie, I did not sign that document," says Pride.
But over the phone the 18 year old in woman in the middle of this case continued to back up Morrissey. She wished not to be identified by name. "My mother has never signed or falsified any documents," she said. "That is his signature. And he and I both know that's not how my mother is and that's not her integrity. She would never falsify documents for me nor for anyone else. At the end of the day I believe this is one of my father's tactics to get at Mr. Morrissey."
Morrissey's resignation from the Virginia House of Delegates is effective Tuesday, the day he runs as an independent to keep the seat in a special election. Morrissey says investigators are unfairly targeting him in the middle of his campaign to regain his seat. Polls are open until 7 p.m. in the special election for the 74th district with Democrat Kevin Sullivan and Republican Matt Walton running against Morrissey.
Morrissey is currently serving time on work release after entering an Alford plea to charges of an inappropriate sexual relationship with his receptionist, who was 17 at the time. The plea means Morrissey does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there's enough evidence for him to be found guilty at trial.
Morrissey has said there will be a civil trial where more information will come out. Meanwhile, he continues to serve his three months on work release. He has to report to Henrico Jail East every night for three months and will be eligible for work release to practice law and serve in the General Assembly. He will also have to wear a GPS monitoring device.
Prosecutors say Morrissey had a sexual relationship with a teenage part-time receptionist at his law office last year. Now 18 years old, she has denied the relationship ever happened, but prosecutors say Henrico Police have continued to document interactions and alleged texts indicating a possible relationship between Morrissey and the teen throughout the investigation.
The teen was a receptionist for three weeks before an incident on August 23, 2013 when her father called police to Morrissey's home. The girl was taken by police from Morrissey's home but denies she ever had an inappropriate relationship with the politician. Her mother says she gave her permission to be at the home and her lawyer says the father does not have custody of the teen.
Court documents show the teen started working at the firm on August 5, 2013, and her lawyer admits she claimed to be 22 on her application. A copy of her job application and resume provided to the media backs up her claim. However, prosecutors believe Morrissey was aware of the girl's true age prior to the alleged incidents.
Prosecutors say the night of August 23, 2013 was not the first time the pair was intimate. They argue Morrissey took the girl out for dinner repeatedly after she started working at the firm and that on August 20, 2013, the two had sex repeatedly at his office. Police have copies of text messages from both parties confirming the sexual encounter, according to the court documents.
The next morning, prosecutors say Morrissey sent the teen a text message asking her for a nude photograph, which she sent to him. Prosecutors say Morrissey then sent the photo to a friend.