Quantcast

Charlottesville Judge Deciding Legal Fees in Bellamy, Kessler Case

Posted: Updated:
Petition calling for Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy to be removed (FILE) Petition calling for Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy to be removed (FILE)
Blogger Jason Kessler (FILE) Blogger Jason Kessler (FILE)
Wes Bellamy (FILE) Wes Bellamy (FILE)
Pam Starsia, Bellamy's attorney Pam Starsia, Bellamy's attorney
Special Prosecutor Michael Doucette Special Prosecutor Michael Doucette
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A Charlottesville judge is in the process of deciding whether or not to award legal fees to Wes Bellamy's lawyer after blogger Jason Kessler's unsuccessful petition to have Bellamy removed from office.

Judge Richard Moore heard the arguments in Charlottesville Circuit Court Tuesday.

The issue is that under state law, the city of Charlottesville would have to pay the fees, but the judge was clear in saying he wished he could make Kessler pay.

State code says that if a petition to remove an elected official is dismissed in his or her favor, the jurisdiction they represent can be told to pay the attorney fees. In this case, Charlottesville would be on the hook to pay belay’s attorney, Pam Starsia.

Judge Moore said that if he could make Kessler himself pay the fees, he would, but state law says it has to be the city, if anyone.

“If it was possible under the law, the person who should be paying these legal fees is Kessler, the person who filed the meritless petition against Councilman Bellamy,” Starsia said.

“Judge is taking the matter under advisement and just waiting to see. You know whatever it is, it will be a well-reasoned opinion,” said Special Prosecutor Michael Doucette.

Judge Moore said his main concern was whether the statute applies because technically the petition was not dismissed in favor of belay. Instead it was withdrawn because it was meritless.

The judge said that he will take the arguments under advisement and compare rulings on similar issues across the state before making his decision.

  • Charlottesville Judge Deciding Legal Fees in Bellamy, Kessler CaseMore>>