Richmond mayoral candidate Joe Morrissey continues to refute accusations he pressured a potential client into a plea deal, but offered little new information in a Wednesday press conference.
Morrissey claimed on Tuesday two people would come forward from Henrico Jail to "completely debunk" allegations he pushed a potential client to take a plea deal earlier this year after she refused his sexual advances. However, an 11 a.m. press conference held by his attorney, Arnold Henderson offered little new information.
Henderson stated that two inmates who shared a dayroom with Kanika Morris heard her say she would do anything to get out of jail. Morris, who was pregnant at the time, was heard by the other inmates saying she didn't want to have her baby in jail, according to Henderson. A sheriff deputy confirmed at the press conference that the inmates did share a dayroom with Morris.
However, Henderson did not provide any names of the inmates nor did he provide any evidence to back up his claims. He took no questions from the media and Morrissey was not present at the event.
During a Facebook Live interview on Tuesday morning at NBC12, Morrissey said that "what was done was one of the most mean-spirited Election Eve things I've ever seen. Stay tuned to what's coming up next." He has continually refuted the claims by Morris in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Morris claimed Morrissey made sexual advances and sent her lewd text messages when she met him for legal counsel on Feb. 1. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that when Morris refused Morrissey's overtures, he "handed over her case to another lawyer in his office, who pushed her into taking a plea deal." A judge has allowed her to withdraw the plea deal amid the allegations.
Morris says Morrissey exposed himself and tried to get her to send nude pictures to him. She provided the newspaper with explicit text messages to corroborate her account. At the time, Morrissey was recently engaged to his now-wife, Myrna, who was pregnant with their second child.
Morris claims she was forced to accept a plea deal the last minute and also claims attorney Paul Galanides changed something without her knowledge. The plea agreement was presented orally in front of a judge on Sept. 26.
While Morrissey admits to sending flirtatious text messages with Morris and having had a previous relationship with her, his lawyer says a letter from Galanides dated Sept. 29 proves that Morris is lying about being pressured into having sex. Henderson refuted 10 points published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch article, including Morris' meeting with Morrissey, claiming he was standing between her and a closed door and that she declined to touch him.
Morrissey's lawyer also says another attorney, Catherine Mullins, was in the room the entire time and says Morris was lying.
Morrissey says he had no contact with her in any shape or form, and he also questioned why Morris and her new attorney drove to the Richmond Times-Dispatch's offices after she was released from jail.
He is now demanding a retraction of the RTD story and a formal apology.
While the press release said one or both of the witnesses would be at the press conference, neither was present.
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