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Judge Considering Motions in Civil Case Against Charlottesville

Posted: Updated: Mar 08, 2018 04:43 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A Charlottesville judge says he will wait before ruling on a motion to dismiss a civil suit filed against the city.

City Hall is accused of acting improperly by hiring former federal attorney Tim Heaphy to review how the events leading up to and of August 12 were handled by officials.

Attorney Jeffrey E. Fogel is representing the plaintiff, Joy Johnson, and says there are a couple of big issues that people need to understand. Fogel believes Charlottesville’s first mistake was trying to hire someone to both do an independent investigation into the August 12 Unite the Right rally while at the same time acting as a legal representative of the city. He says that means the way City Hall managed the contract with Heaphy is flawed.

Fogel says all of this should have first gone through Charlottesville City Council and a public review.

"It's an attack on the failure to give the city their political rights before the City Council to be heard. That City Council doesn't spend $350,000 without having a discussion about it. There's no reason the city manager should respond with going out to throw money at a law firm who's a friend of his," Fogel said.

An attorney for Charlottesville says City Manager Maurice Jones has the legal right to hire an independent investigator. The attorney says that falls under city code, even if that investigator is a law firm.

Judge Richard Moore says he will wait two weeks before announcing a decision so he can review case law, city codes and the engagement letter between City Hall and Heaphy's law firm.