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“Suitcase” Joel Branscom rides again

The Bat Phone has rung again for the prosecutor in Fincastle. Botetourt County Commonwealth’s Attorney Joel Branscom has long been the go-to guy in Southwest Virginia to serve as special prosecutor when the local parties are too close for comfort. The latest call to arms comes from Roanoke. Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Caldwell stepped aside to let Branscom decide whether to prosecute the folks who put up some anonymous attack ads aimed at a city council candidate. (One of those involved was a competing candidate.)

Among the many other cases where Branscom is (or was) special prosecutor:

-Christiansburg lawyer Gerard Marks, accused of using phonied-up documents to cover for legal work he did not do

-A former Gate City mayor convicted of 16 counts of election fraud

-A commissioner of revenue in Craig County who pleaded guilty to stealing insurance claim money

-A Pittsylvania County deputy cleared of wrongdoing after shooting a man to death in self-defense

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