Northam pardons Virginia Sen. Joe Morrissey over relationship with minor law firm receptionist

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VIrginia Governor Ralph Northam granted an eleventh-hour pardon to Sen. Joe Morrissey, who was convicted in 2014 of a misdemeanor count relating to a relationship with a 17-year-old receptionist at his law firm who became more late his wife.

Morrissey, who like Northam is a Democrat, said he learned of the simple grace on Thursday after sending in a petition in late November.

“To say that I have been extremely pleased with what the governor has done would be, perhaps to me, the understatement of the 2022 General Assembly session,” he said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Most importantly, my wife is grateful.”

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Morrissey, now 64, left his seat in the House of Delegates eight years ago after being found guilty of aiding in the delinquency of a minor. He was re-elected as an independent in a special election shortly thereafter and spent nights in jail while working during the day at the General Assembly as part of a work release sentence. .

Virginia State Senator Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Morrissey’s career over the years has been marred by more controversy, including being disbarred, failed bids for mayor of Richmond and winning his current Senate seat in 2019. He is married to the woman at the center of the 2014 conviction, Myrna Morrissey, and they have four children together.

Northam announced on Friday that he has granted pardons to more than 1,200 Virginians over the past four years, including exonerating eight people he says served lengthy prison sentences after being wrongfully convicted.

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“Virginians forgive people who believe in second chances,” Northam said in a statement. “When people make mistakes and pay their debts, they deserve the opportunity to come back and be productive members of society. We can all be proud that Virginia has been able to offer thousands of deserving people the opportunity for a fresh start.

Northam leaves office on Saturday. He will be replaced by Republican Glenn Youngkin.

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