Politician responsible for brutal assault may run for Va. attorney general

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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A Virginia politician found guilty of committing a vicious assault in 1999 may be angling to become the state’s next attorney general.

Democratic Del. Joseph D. Morrissey was disbarred and lost his law license in 2003 after attacking a man — beating him with a large ring around his finger.

According to legal brief filed on behalf of the victim, Morrissey shouted, “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to beat your head in,” and then attempted to make good on his promise.

When the man attempted to escape his beating, Morrissey “smashed his head into the corner of a brick wall,” according to a court filing by the victim’s lawyers.

In 2002, a jury decided that Morrissey must pay his victim $40,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages. The amount was later reduced.

Morrissey made progress on restoring his law license last week. A one-page ruling released Friday by the Virginia Supreme Court announced that he could regain his license if he meets certain criteria.

In July the Virginia State Bar association advocated that Morrissey should not have his law license restored.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Friday that “Some political insiders expected the decision could result in Morrissey’s decision to run for state Attorney General.”

Morrissey, first elected to the House of Delegates in 2007, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Virginia’s next election is in 2013.

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Steven Nelson