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Amended lawsuit challenges Northam’s authority on ordering removal of Lee monument

FILE - This Tuesday June 27, 2017 file photo shows the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that stands in the middle of a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. Virginia Gov. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, file) (Source: Steve Helber)
FILE - This Tuesday June 27, 2017 file photo shows the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that stands in the middle of a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. Virginia Gov. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, file) (Source: Steve Helber)(WDBJ)
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The man trying to stop Governor Ralph Northam from tearing down the General Robert E. Lee monument has amended his lawsuit.

William Gregory’s attorneys now argue the monument’s removal would be a direct violation of state code that says the removal of state-owned memorials is prohibited. This comes after a judge indefinitely extended an injunction preventing the removal of Lee statue from Monument Avenue.

Northam and the Director of the Virginia Department of General Services, Joseph Damico, are listed as defendants.

The lawsuit claims that in attempting to remove the statue and letting it be vandalized, they “are exceeding their legal authority, violating their obligations to enforce the law, and willfully violating binding covenants in the deed conveying the statue, pedestal, and the land on which they sit to the Commonwealth.”

Gregory is the great-grandson of the original deed holders for the monument. His attorney argues the entire case is over a contract between Gregory’s ancestors and the state to keep the land and monument in perpetuity. The 12-ton 21-foot-tall statue has stood in a prominent spot along Monument Avenue since 1890.

There is no comment from the Northam administration on the filing.

Both sides will be in court on July 23.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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