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Tipsheet

Virginia Democrat Losing Fellow Dems’ Support Over Abortion Stance, Not Disturbing (and Criminal) Past

AP Photo/Steve Helber

For Virginia Democrats, it appears the only thing that can cost one the support of their fellow Democrats is supporting a bill to protect the unborn. It was not, at least in the sordid case of one Democrat state senator, his repeated run-ins with the law, allegedly having a sex with a minor, marrying that woman after getting her pregnant at 18 and hiding her in Georgia, allegedly punching another lawyer, or being disbarred (twice).

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In a complaint filed on May 18, Virginia state Senator Joseph D. Morrissey, a Democrat, was accused by his estranged wife of having not only physically and emotionally abused her, but of having multiple affairs, one of which included fathering illegitimate children during their marriage. Morrissey contends the accusations leveled by his wife are "absolutely false," according to The Washington Post.

Myrna Morrissey, who is hoping to end a nearly seven-year marriage in which they had three children, also claims that the Democrat senator would pressure her constantly into maintaining a favorable appearance to stave off the image initially created by their relationship:

Morrissey, 65, was a state delegate in 2013 when he was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly having sex with Myrna Pride, who was 17 and had been working in his law office.

Morrissey entered an Alford plea, meaning he acknowledged the evidence against him without admitting guilt, and served 90 days in jail. A wildly polarizing defense lawyer who markets himself as “a fighter for the people,” Morrissey was reelected while incarcerated.

This didn't stop Democrats from re-electing him, and the new allegations might not be enough to keep him from being re-elected this fall to his seat in the state Senate. However, it may further complicate Morrissey's current campaign, specifically his contentious primary against former state Delegate Lashrecse Aird, as fellow Democrat senators endorse Morrissey's challenger citing concerns he may help pro-life Republicans move ahead with a 15-week abortion ban in the Commonwealth.

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Morrissey has tried desperately to cling to his family-man image, even continuing to display at least "one campaign billboard" that still features his wife and children, despite them being "separated" for some time according to the Post.

More via WaPo:

Her divorce complaint — which was first reported by Axios — charges that he began requesting “explicit photos” from her two weeks into her stint at his law office and began having sex with her a week after that. She alleges that she hid the nature of the relationship from her parents to protect him and that Morrissey instructed her to destroy records on her phone.

She says that when she became pregnant in 2014 at age 18, Morrissey sent her to live in Georgia to conceal the pregnancy while he faced criminal charges. They moved in together in 2015 and married the next year. Myrna Morrissey claims that she began seeing evidence that he was asking other women for “naked photos” soon after they set up housekeeping and that the incidents continued, though Joseph Morrissey denied it when confronted.

"I love her very much," Morrissey said in a brief interview with The Washington Post. "It breaks my heart that she would make these absolutely false allegations."

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Myrna's complaint alleges numerous affairs, "including with a deputy sheriff, babysitters and one woman with whom he fathered twins." WaPo noted Morrissey's estranged wife "also claims a pattern of abuse, such as calling her belittling names such as 'b----' and 'ghetto rat,' and says he elbowed her in the stomach when she was pregnant with their third child, and once grabbed her by the throat and slapped her repeatedly."

Despite Morrissey saying that he and Myrna have "united in caring for their children" in the wake of the separation, he previously requested a protective order against her, which was rescinded by a judge after no evidence was found to support Morrissey's allegations that Myrna's boyfriend had beaten their son.

In addition to the allegations and misdeeds mentioned above, WaPo reminded that Morrissey "faced numerous charges of misconduct in an earlier career as a prosecutor and defense lawyer (including punching another lawyer in court) and has been disbarred twice."

Despite all that, as is their style, "Virginia Democrats gave him grudging support" when he wanted to run for the state Senate, a bid that "would help the party win a majority." How convenient. That begrudging support included fundraisers at Morrissey's house, one of which was "headlined" by Terry McAuliffe. 

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What's more, WaPo explained that then-Democrat Governor Ralph Northam "pardoned Morrissey in one of his last official acts as governor."

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