Sen. Mor­ris­sey files defama­tion suit against for­mer Rep. Com­stock

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NEWS - BY JUSTIN MATTINGLY Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch jmat­tingly@times­dis­ (804) 649-6012 Twit­ter: @jmat­tingly306

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 2018.

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.



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