Jan 18, 2023 - Politics

Morrissey rift goes public with series of accusations

Myrna and Joe Morrissey together in 2015. Photo: Steve Helber/AP

Myrna Morrissey took her breakup with state Sen. Joe Morrissey public over the weekend in a series of Instagram posts calling the marriage "The Biggest Mistake of My Life."

Catch up fast: Myrna Morrissey, 26, says she's seeking a divorce from the 65-year-old lawmaker.

  • They've been separated since 2019, both parties confirmed separately.

Why it matters: Joe Morrissey, who is up for re-election this year and already has a primary challenger, had put his marriage front and center as he rebuilt his political career after a 2014 misdemeanor conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

  • The charge stemmed from his relationship with Myrna Morrissey when she was a 17-year-old receptionist in his law office.
  • Former Gov. Northam pardoned the lawmaker last year before leaving office.

The latest: Myrna Morrissey scrubbed the widely shared posts from her Instagram account as of Tuesday morning, writing, "I have removed my truth due to legal advice."

  • The posts had accused her husband of infidelity and urged her followers to contribute to an online fundraiser for her legal expenses.

The other side: In a statement over the weekend, Joe Morrissey framed his wife's posts as retaliation for his decision to report allegations of a third party's physical abuse of one of their three children.

  • A spokesperson for Chesterfield County Police, Elizabeth Caroon, tells Axios in an email that the department is investigating the allegations and that no charges have been filed.
  • Joe Morrissey tells Axios he obtained a restraining order over the weekend temporarily prohibiting Myrna Morrissey and the third party from having contact with the children.

Police confirmed they served an emergency protective order on Myrna Morrissey and the third party Saturday — an encounter that Myrna Morrissey streamed live on her Instagram account and that was watched by hundreds of people.

  • Emergency protective orders typically expire after 72 hours. It was not clear Tuesday whether a hearing had been scheduled to modify or extend the order.

Myrna Morrissey declined to comment when reached by Axios, but called the abuse allegations "completely false" in an interview over the weekend with the Times-Dispatch.

What they're saying: Joe Morrissey grew irate when asked about Myrna Morrissey's allegations of infidelity.

  • "What the f--- do I care about her allegations? They're patently false, all right? And I'm not going to be in a position where I address every false allegation," he told Axios.

The big picture: The dispute comes as Joe Morrissey's political influence is waning in the General Assembly.

  • During the last legislative session he was a decisive vote for Democrats in the Senate, where the party held a one-seat advantage.
  • A special election earlier this month widened Democrats' hold of the chamber by an additional seat, significantly diminishing his leverage.
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