Sen. Morrissey files defamation suit against former Rep. Comstock
Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, is suing a former Virginia congresswoman over comments she made last year on John Fredericks’ radio show.
Morrissey, who served in the House of Delegates from 2008 to 2014 and from January to March 2015 before winning election to the state Senate last year, filed the suit Tuesday in Richmond Circuit Court against
Barbara Comstock. A Fairfax Republican, Comstock served in the House of Delegates from 2010 to 2014 before she represented Virginia’s 10th Congressional District from 2015 to 2019.
In the complaint, Morrissey
says comments Comstock made on the show hosted by the conservative radio host were defamatory.
“Inexplicably, the defendant, without any prompting whatsoever, stated that [Morrissey] was ‘a predator when he was in the House of Delegates [and] we had to warn the girls to stay away from him,’ ” the complaint says. “Later in the interview, the defendant repeated that ‘we had to warn the interns to stay away from him.’ ”
The interview with Comstock came just weeks before Morrissey beat Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, in a June 2019 primary to become the party’s nominee in a heavily Democratic district, which includes parts of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Prince George and Dinwiddie, along with all of the cities of Petersburg and Hopewell. Morrissey defeated independent Waylin Ross in the general election.
“The comments made by the defendant during her on-air interview with John Fredericks were deliberate, intentional and calculated to harm Morrissey,” the complaint says. “Comstock’s statements have injured, slandered and harmed Mr. Morrissey’s good standing in the community.”
Comstock did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday. She lost the congressional seat to Democrat Jennifer Wexton
In 2014, Morrissey entered an Alford plea to a single misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in a case involving relations with his then-17-year-old law firm employee, whom he later married. They now have children together.
Morrissey is seeking at least $1.35 million in damages.