Download the WLNI App

AP

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia lawmaker is being accused by a former staffer of privacy violations.A former aide to Democratic Del. Dawn Adams has filed a federal lawsuit saying the Richmond-area lawmaker hacked into a private email account without permission.Maureen Hains filed suit on Thursday seeking $550,000 in damages. Hains said she worked for Adams both as a political aide and as an unpaid helper with Adams’ job as a nurse practitioner.Hains said Adams hacked into her private email account to delete possible evidence of health care privacy law violations.Adams did not immediately respond to requests for comment and has not filed a reply in court. She was first elected in 2017 when she defeated a GOP incumbent.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia is set to get a still-to-be determined amount of a $1.4 billion settlement to resolve U.S. investigations into the marketing of an anti-addiction drug.The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that a British-based company has agreed to settle over allegations its former Virginia-based subsidiary, Indivior, sought to increase prescriptions for Suboxone Film by deceiving health care providers into believing the drug was safer than other opioid addiction treatments.Indivior was spun off in 2014 from consumer products company Reckitt Benckiser.The Medicaid fraud unit in Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office was part of the investigation. Herring’s office said it’s not been determined how much the state will receive of the $1.4 billion settlement.

Photo: Douglas Wilder Twitter

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder is pushing back against sexual harassment allegations made by a student six decades his junior. Wilder thanked his supporters and called the allegations “baseless” in a tweet Friday. His comments came a day after The Washington Post reported on a Virginia Commonwealth University-commissioned investigation that found Wilder had kissed student Sydney Black without her consent. Wilder, 88, was the nation’s first elected black governor and teaches at VCU. He has not previously commented on the matter. The investigation also cleared Wilder of three other allegations the student made: sexual exploitation, sex-based discrimination and retaliation. Black told police and school officials that Wilder took her to dinner on her 20th birthday, gave her alcohol and kissed her.

Photo: Douglas Wilder Twitter

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An investigation has found that former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder did kiss a university student 66 years younger than he is without her consent. But The Washington Post reports that the investigation also cleared Wilder of three other allegations the student made, of sexual exploitation, sex-based discrimination and retaliation. The investigation was conducted by an attorney at the request of Virginia Commonwealth University, where Wilder teaches.The student, Sydney Black, filed a complaint to police and school officials, saying Wilder took her to dinner on her 20th birthday, gave her alcohol and kissed her. Wilder, who was the nation’s first elected black governor, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. He has until next week to contest the investigation’s findings. Possible sanctions could include Wilder’s firing.

The Virginia General Assembly has voted to adjourn until November, as Republicans rejected Democrats’ request to vote on a series of gun control measures. The session lasted less than two hours. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam called it in response to the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach in which a city employee killed a dozen people.

Republican leaders in Virginia’s General Assembly say the state’s crime commission needs to take a measured look at gun issues to try to find a bipartisan solution.  House Speaker Kirk Cox says the special session was premature because the Virginia Beach shooting is still being investigated. Cox and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment say Northam should have called for a blue-ribbon commission to study gun and mental health issues like former Gov. Tim Kaine did after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. Governor Northam and General Assembly Democrats say Republicans abandoned their responsibilities to Virginia citizens in not acting now.

Democratic Governor Ralph Northam issued a statement after the adjournment, saying “an average of three Virginians die each day due to gun violence”. Northam called it “shameful and disappointing that Republicans in the General Assembly refuse to do their jobs, and take immediate action to save lives.”

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) —  Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment abruptly withdrew the surprise legislation he introduced Monday to broadly ban guns in any government building, after it prompted a mutiny in the GOP caucus, with Sen. Bill Stanley resigning as majority whip shortly before lawmakers were to be gaveled into session. Stanley told The Associated Press that he was quitting to protest the move by Norment, who is married to a lobbyist for the city of Virginia Beach. His bill caught his fellow Republicans off guard and they immediately pushed back, saying it’s an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens to prevent them from carrying guns into government buildings. “Sometimes you just gotta stand for principle, so I resigned,” Stanley said. But his departure didn’t last long as GOP leaders sought to restore unity: Stanley said that during a Senate caucus meeting before the session started, Norment apologized for the bill and asked Stanley to reconsider. Norment made a motion to the caucus to reelect Stanley as whip, which they did. Stanley said he was the sole vote against.

Continue reading

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A top Virginia Republican is calling for a broad ban on guns in government buildings  before state lawmakers convene a special session on gun laws.Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment filed legislation yesterday that would extend a state prohibition on guns in courthouses to any “building owned or used by a locality for governmental purposes.” It would also increase the penalty for breaking the law from a misdemeanor to a felony.The bill comes as a surprise, as Republicans have historically blocked gun-control measures. The National Rifle Association immediately panned the measure as unfair to law-abiding gun owners.A mass workplace shooting in Virginia Beach by a city employee a little more than a month ago prompted the special legislative session on gun laws that starts today.

Photo: Ryan Clark

BUENA VISTA, Va. (AP) _ Virginia State Police are looking into a fuel distributor as they investigate a gas station explosion that killed four people and injured three others. The Roanoke Times reports that search warrants have sought information about a gasoline order, delivered to South River Market less than an hour before the explosion on May 10. Investigators requested records on the distributor’s truck driver, as well as business, phone and company training documents. Officers said they hoped to determine if the driver had adequate safety training and knew how to act in case of an accident. The market was totally consumed by flames in the May blaze. Investigators found four bodies in the rubble, but said they didn’t think the fire was suspicious. The driver has not been charged.

Dave Dildine/WTOP via AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — A slow-moving rainstorm Monday washed out roads, stranded drivers and soaked basements, including the White House’s, during a chaotic morning commute in the national capital region. Water gushed into the press workspace in the basement near the White House’s West Wing. Government employees worked to drain puddles of standing water with wet vacs. National Weather Service meteorologist Cody Ledbetter said the storm dumped about 6.3 inches of rain near Frederick, Maryland, about 4.5 inches near Arlington, Virginia, and about 3.4 inches at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in a two-hour period. “The storm was not moving very quickly,” Ledbetter said.

Water levels at Cameron Run in Alexandria, Virginia, a flood-prone area along the Capital Beltway, rose more than 7 feet over 30 minutes after 9 a.m., according to the weather service. Four Mile Run, which runs through Arlington and Alexandria, saw a similar increase. Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the fire department in Montgomery County, Maryland, said emergency workers used boats for dozens of rescues, plucking people from flooded cars. “Everywhere I turned, there was traffic and roads closed,” he said. Piringer said he didn’t immediately receive any reports of storm-related injuries.

Continue reading

LOUISA, Va. (AP) _ A court date will soon be set to determine whether a massive confederate battle flag will be allowed to fly on private property off of a Virginia highway. The Daily Progress reports the debate surrounds a 30 by 50 foot (9 by 15 meters) Confederate battle flag on a 120-foot (36.5-meter) pole. The Virginia Flaggers say the flag, located about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Charlottesville, counters the Charlottesville City Council’s vote to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in May. Officials say the flag violates height ordinances, but the group says it’s a Civil War monument, exempting it from height limitations. Judge Timothy K. Sanner is expected to set a hearing date July 15 for two separate rulings: First, whether the flagpole is a monument, then on the constitutionality of the county’s zoning ordinance.