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Lawyers for constitutional officers

Who pays the defense lawyer’s bill when one of Virginia’s elected constitutional officers gets sued? Sometimes, of course, it’s the taxpayers.

Constitutional officers seem to be getting sued a lot recently. There is former Sheriff George McMillan in Roanoke (represented by Elizabeth Dillon), now-suspended Harrisonburg Treasurer Rebecca Neal (represented by David O’Donnell), and Madison County Sheriff Erik Weaver (represented by Mark Obenshain).

McMillan, accused of sexual harassment, is being provided a defense by the state Division of Risk Management, but probably will be on his own for some of the damages. It’s not clear who is paying for Neal’s legal counsel. She is the subject of a criminal fraud indictment, a civil lawsuit, and a citizen’s petition to remove her from office. The Daily News Record says that Judge James Lane suspended her from office today.

It looks like a hearing before retired Judge F. Ward Harkrader Jr. is set for May 20 to determine who will pay for the Madison sheriff’s lawyer as he battles a claim that he violated the Freedom of Information Act. The Madison County Eagle has that story.

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