Del. Rick Morris will not recuse himself amid domestic violence allegations

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SUFFOLK, Va. - Del. Rick Morris will not recuse himself from any legislation, he told News 3's sister station WTVR.

Earlier this week, a grand jury indicted Morris on three charges. With a previous charge, he is now facing two felony child cruelty charges and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery on a family member.

A reporter from WTVR asked Del. Morris if he planned to recuse himself from any bills related to domestic violence. He told the reporter "no," and that he had nothing more to say.

Morris could potentially vote for House Bill 1851, which deals with penalties for people found guilty of assaulting family members. Morris is a member of the Court of Justice Criminal Law subcommittee.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed whether Morris should recuse himself on Thursday. "I think if there are bills coming up that do impact his situation, then I think he would recuse himself from those," Gov. McAuliffe said. "What happens to him should be up to the Republicans on what they want to do with their own member."

Morris' wife is also now coming to his defense. In an interview with the Richmond Times Dispatch, Kathryn Morris says there was no abuse. "I don't think it's fair that he has been portrayed as this animal attacking a child viciously or anything like that," Morris said, adding that the two are separated. "I feel like it's been totally blown out of proportion. And I feel like the police department and the commonwealth's office - they're out to get him at whatever cost."

Court documents previously released said Del. Morris assaulted his wife. The records state, "Mr. Morris grabbed her by the neck and pushed her into the hallway from their bedroom...  She injured her left ankle as a result of this altercation and was placed into a temporary cast." Ms. Morris told the Richmond Times Dispatch, "I feel backwards. It wasn't him directly hurting me. I feel backwards." She says her son has behavioral issues, the newspaper reported.

Morris is due back in court on February 22. He continues to maintain his innocence.

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