Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Warner Dave Chapman is asking the court to appoint a special prosecutor to represent the group who filed the petition to remove Wes Bellamy.
Chapman filed the legal document in Charlottesville Circuit Court Friday, February 17.
In the document, Chapman argues:
The removal of an elected official from office is an especially important and sensitive proceeding in which members of the public and the interested parties have a right to the highest degree of confidence that the Commonwealth Attorney who has legal responsibility for the case is free from any actual source of undue influence, bias or prejudice.
Chapman cites the ongoing relationship between City Council and the Commonwealth's Attorney Office.
A group of conservatives want to see Charlottesville Vice Mayor Bellamy removed from office. Jason Kessler, a blogger and member of the group, cities posts Bellamy had made to Twitter before being elected, but are linked to his official account.
Unity & Security for America filed its petition Thursday, Feb. 16. The group believes Bellamy, "misused his office."
Legal expert Lloyd Snook thinks the petitioners may be facing an uphill battle
“It's pretty clear that the law only applies to misuse or incompetence or something done while you're in office. And linking to a bunch of things that happened years ago, odious though they may be, doesn't violate that statute,” Snook said.
The first hearing in this case is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23.
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