STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Just days before the primary, two Republican candidates for lieutenant governor are facing off in court. It’s all over emails and claims of an affair.
Lawyers for Sen. Bryce Reeves and Sen. Jill Vogel appeared in Stafford County Circuit Court Friday afternoon over whether Reeves should be able to depose six people — including Vogel and her husband.
Reeves is trying to figure out who should be named a defendant in a defamation case.
This all stems from an email sent out last year alleging Reeves had an affair. The email was sent to his supporters.
According to court documents, the email, authored by the name “Martha McDaniel,” alleged, “Sen. Reeves is carrying on an open and obvious adulterous relationship with his campaign staffer.”
Reeves says he can trace the email account back to Vogel’s husband’s phone and two IP addresses — the Vogels and their neighbors.
In court documents, counsel for the Vogels emphasize this is not a defamation suit against the Vogels. Instead, Reeves sued “Martha McDaniel.”
The court documents say if Reeves “wanted to assert claims against the Vogels he should do so by filing a lawsuit against them — not by shadow litigating these matters trough impermissible discovery requests.”
The Vogels’ counsel also argued Reeves violated the rules of the Supreme Court by issuing deposition subpoenas without leave of court.
After the hearing, Judge Charles E. Poston denied Reeves’ request and sided with the Vogels.
He said he’s had a growing concern about invasion of privacy which he said can be common in the discovery process.
Judge Poston said there are other ways to identify a defendant.
Reeves now plans to pursue a lawsuit. After the hearing, Reeves released the following statement:
I take it seriously when someone tries to attack and destroy my country, or my constituents, or my family. That’s why I became an Army Ranger, that’s why I became a police officer and that’s why I ran for public office.
We have been in pursuit of the truth since September when these false allegations attempting to destroy my family first began to surface.
There are a number of questions that remain unanswered: Why was Alex Vogel’s cell phone used to register this Gmail account? Why was Jill Vogel’s Internet network used to access the email account? And why is Jill Vogel refusing to answer these questions? The voters of Virginia deserve to know the answers and we’re calling on Jill Vogel to answer them truthfully, which she is unwilling to do.
In order to get to the truth, we will be pursuing a lawsuit against the Vogels and others involved in this filthy enterprise.”
We also reached out to Vogel’s campaign manager, Pat Trueman, who issued this statement:
We are pleased the court dismissed this baseless legal maneuver meant to score cheap political points. Jill Vogel is focused on uniting the Republican Party behind a positive conservative agenda that will lead to victory in November.”
After his ruling, the judge urged lawyers not to speak with the media about the case.
The candidates themselves did not appear in court Friday.
Del. Glenn Davis is the third Republican running for lieutenant governor.
He’s been mostly quiet but recently released a campaign video saying he’ll let his opponents “focus on the courtroom drama” while he focuses on “bringing real solutions to Virginia families.”
The primary is on Tuesday.