Colette McEachin seeks special prosecutor to review Va. State Police report into election fraud allegations against Mark Earley Jr.

Richmond

Mark Earley Jr. in December 2019. (Photo: 8News)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin has requested for a special prosecutor to review a state police report into allegations of election fraud against Mark Earley Jr., the Republican trying to unseat Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond), due to her “social relationship” with his parents.

Earley Jr., the son of former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley Sr., defeated Mike Dickinson in Tuesday’s primary to secure the GOP nomination in the race for the House of Delegates 68th District.

In May, a criminal investigation was launched after Dickinson filed a complaint to Virginia State Police about the paperwork Earley Jr. submitted to qualify for the June 8 primary ballot. 

Earley Jr. moved his family from the city’s Woodland Heights neighborhood to live with his parents in the district in order to qualify for the Republican primary. Candidates are required to live in the districts they aim to represent.

He also made an error on an economic interest statement when filing his paperwork. The document asks whether a candidate owns real estate, beyond their main residence, that’s valued at over $5,000. 

Earley Jr. did not disclose his other residence when he initially signed the document on March 16, according to the original paperwork he signed and filed. Virginia law prohibits “any willfully false material statement or entry” on forms from candidates.

In a release Friday, McEachin’s office revealed that a request for a special prosecutor from another jurisdiction had been made “to avoid the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest.” The request is still pending with the Richmond Circuit Court, which will be tasked with picking the special prosecutor.

A spokesperson for Earley’s campaign did not immediately respond to 8News’ request for comment.

Earley’s campaign declined an interview request with 8News when the criminal investigation was initiated, but his campaign manager wrote in a statement that she believes investigators will find it was simple mistake that Earley corrected.

“The Virginia State Police are simply doing their job, as they are obligated to look into complaints.  We have every confidence that they will conclude that this was nothing more than an honest mistake that was immediately corrected,” Asa Bryant, Earley’s campaign manager, wrote in an email on May 21.

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

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