Richmond judge cites location of home in decision to recuse himself from Robert E. Lee statue lawsuit

Richmond

Workers for The Virginia Department of General Services install concrete barriers around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue Wednesday, June 17, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The barriers are intended to protect the safety of demonstrators as well as the structure itself. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond judge has recused himself from hearing a lawsuit aimed at blocking the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from Monument Avenue, saying that his home, which is located in the area, could “create the appearance” of bias.

Circuit Court Judge Bradley Cavedo extended a temporary injunction to halt the monument’s removal on June 18, giving Joseph Blackburn, the attorney for William Gregory, the plaintiff in the case, 21 days to file a new motion.

The amended suit challenges the governor’s authority to order the removal, claiming that if the state fails to guard and protect the monument it violates provisions in deeds from 1890, 1887 and also the state constitution and law. Northam said last month that the monument would be taken down “as soon as possible.”

On Thursday, the office of Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Cavedo had recused himself from participating in the lawsuit.

“Upon further reflection on the issues in this case, I conclude that the location of my home in the vicinity of the Lee Monument area may create the appearance of a bias among some Virginians,” Cavedo wrote in a disqualification order submitted on Thursday. “I was unaware at the outset of this case that I lived in the Monument Avenue Historic District. I therefore recuse.”

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant has been assigned to hear the case. It is unclear whether a hearing will take place on July 23 as previously expected.

This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.

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