Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an eleventh-hour pardon to state Sen. Joe Morrissey, who was convicted in 2014 for a misdemeanor count over a relationship with a 17-year-old receptionist at his law firm who later became his wife.
Morrissey, who like Northam is a Democrat, said he learned of the simple pardon Thursday after he sent a petition at the end of November.
"To say that I was extremely pleased with what the governor did would be, perhaps for me, the understatement of the 2022 General Assembly session," he said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "Most importantly, my wife is grateful."
Morrissey, now 64, left his seat in the House of Delegates eight years ago after being convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He won reelection as an independent in a special election a short time later and spent nights in jail while working during the day in the General Assembly as part of a work-release sentence.
Morrissey's career over the years has been marked with more controversy, including disbarment, failed bids for Richmond mayor, and winning his current state Senate seat in 2019. He is married to the woman at the center of the 2014 conviction, Myrna Morrissey, and they have four children together.
Northam announced Friday that he has granted pardons to over 1,200 Virginians over the past four years, including exonerating eight individuals who he said served lengthy prison sentences after being wrongfully convicted.
"Virginians are forgiving people who believe in second chances," Northam said in a statement. "When people make mistakes, and pay their debts, they deserve the opportunity to return and be productive members of society. We can all be proud that Virginia has been able to provide thousands of deserving people the opportunity for a fresh start."
Northam leaves office Saturday. He will be succeeded by Republican Glenn Youngkin.
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