Morrissey confirms search warrant executed at his office
Investigators swarmed the law office of Delegate Joe Morrissey on Monday, the day before a special election to fill the seat he resigned from last month. Morrissey says detectives were executing a search warrant tied to the sex scandal the embattled legislator has denied for more than a year.
Morrissey says investigators were looking for child support documents that he had filed into evidence. The alleged child support documents involve the father of the teenager Morrissey is accused of having sex with, Coleman Pride.
Morrissey maintains the young woman's father owed child support, and that's why he was meeting with her. Pride says it's all a lie.
Morrissey says investigators are unfairly targeting him, right before the election where he hopes to re-win his seat.
"I looked at the detective, and I looked him in his face, and I said, 'When are you going to apologize to me, after the election?'" said Morrissey.
Morrissey says he entered a child support document into evidence to show the alleged victim's father owed thousands in back child support. Morrissey has said that's why he was meeting with the alleged victim, who is now 18. The teen's mother has long supported Morrissey, saying there was no affair.
Pride disagrees, and denies the child support document is real.
"Mr. [Pride] on the eve of the election, has created more mischief… and the original document exists," asserted Morrissey, outside of his Henrico law office.
It's not confirmed exactly what detectives were looking for in Morrissey's office. Pride says he never signed any kind of child support document.
"The document he's speaking on is a fabricated lie. I did not sign that document," maintained Pride.
Pride says legal advice should not be given at an attorney's private home, something investigators say happened at Morrissey's home with Pride's daughter.
"I think most attorneys have their own offices," said Pride.
"It's very shameful that on the morning the day before the election, they would do this," added Morrissey.
Pride says he spoke to his daughter for the first time in 18 months on Monday. He says they both shed tears.
Henrico police officials would not answer questions about why they were at Morrissey's office, referring all questions to the office of Special Prosecutor Bill Neely. Neely did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
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 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.
Democrat Kevin Sullivan and Republican Matt Walton are running against Morrissey in Tuesday's election.
Prosecutors say Morrissey had a sexual relationship with a teenage part-time receptionist at his law office last year. Now 18, she has denied the relationship ever happened, as did her mother. 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.
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