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Virginia Lawmaker Spends Nights in Jail

Joseph Morrissey is serving 6-month sentence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2015 1:58 AM CST
Virginia Lawmaker Spends Nights in Jail
Newly elected Del. Joseph Morrissey listens to proceedings during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – Better the crook you know? Virginia Del. Joseph Morrissey won re-election in a special election this week despite the fact that he's in jail. The former Democrat stepped down from his 74th District seat after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, but he ran as an independent and won with 43% of the vote, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is allowed out in the daytime under a work-release program but has to be back in his cell by 7:30pm every evening. He learned of his victory Tuesday night from inside the Henrico County Regional Jail East, where he missed curfew by a few minutes after campaigning.

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Morrissey, 57, is serving a six-month sentence after having been accused of having a sexual relationship with his 17-year-old receptionist and carrying nude photos of her on his phone, CNN reports. He was sworn in yesterday—while wearing an ankle monitor—but his fellow lawmakers plan to do their best to expel him from the chamber or at least take steps to prevent him from voting or serving on committees, reports the New York Times, which notes that this could be "the most bipartisan move that might occur in the Virginia Legislature this year." (Read more Virginia stories.)

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