Del. Joe Morrissey sworn in to office after winning a special election for the 74th district seat as an independent. (Source: NBC12)
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -
Virginia Delegate Joe Morrissey turned himself in to authorities at the Henrico West Jail on Wednesday afternoon in connection with four new felony charges.
Bond for Del. Morrissey (I-Henrico) was set at $10,000 or $2,500 for each count and he will remain on work release from his prior conviction in a child sex case.
The new charges stem from evidence submitted by defense attorneys for Morrissey as part of the recent case, according to special prosecutor Bill Neely. He claims a child support document was a forgery. A Henrico grand jury indicted Morrissey and the girl's mother, Deidre Warren, on multiple felony counts on January 12. The indictment was unsealed Wednesday morning when a new judge was appointed for the case.
The seven indictments between the two defendants are felonies and mean both Morrissey and Warren could spend decades in prison.
The new charges against Joe Morrissey and Deidre Warren include forging a public record, conspiracy to present a forged record as the truth and perjury. A grand jury believed there is enough evidence proving the indictments to move forward with the cases.
The special prosecutor tells us these are new alleged crimes that fall outside of the plea deal Morrissey entered into last month.
Investigators searched the law office of Del. Morrissey last week for child support documents which Morrissey's defense team claim were the reason a then 17-year-old part-time employee was at his home on the night of August 23, 2013. They say the teen went to discuss child support she was owed by her father, Coleman Pride. Prosecutors say the girl was there as part of a sexual relationship between the two.
Pride denies ever signing the form and says he never owed child support to his daughter. Prosecutors say the entire second page of the document is a fabricated public record and Warren perjured herself when testifying it was authentic.
Morrissey accepted a plea deal last month in connection with his relationship with the teen. The Alford Plea to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor means he did not admit guilt, but understands there's enough evidence for him to be found guilty at trial. Morrissey has maintained his innocence throughout the case and the teen and her mother have denied a sexual relationship existed.
The search came on the eve of the special election for Morrissey's seat leading Morrissey to claim he was being unfairly targeted.
Morrissey resigned his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates after the plea deal, then ran as an Independent and won the special election held to fill his vacated seat.
A new judge out of Alexandria has been appointed to oversee the case. Judge A. Swersky lifted a gag order Wednesday and said he'll appoint a new special prosecutor next month.