GOP AG fires top Jan. 6 investigator from his University of Virginia post
A high-ranking lawyer working with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has been fired from his post at the University of Virginia by the state's new attorney general.
According to Business Insider, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) took office just 10 days ago and made the abrupt decision to dismiss Tim Heaphy, a Democrat who worked as counsel for the University of Virginia (UVA).
Heaphy's termination was confirmed on Sunday, January 23, when the attorney general's office and the university released statements to multiple news outlets including the Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. At the time, he had taken a leave of absence to work with the House committee.
The university said in its statement to The Times, "University leaders are grateful to Tim for his outstanding service to our community and disappointed to see it come to an end," emphasizing that Heaphy's removal was Miyares' "decision to make."
Per Associated Press, counsel for universities is typically appointed by state attorney generals. Speaking on Miyares' behalf, Victoria LaCivita, released a statement insisting Heaphy's termination was not the result of his work with the House committee.
In the statement, LaCivita described Heaphy as a "controversial" hire as she insisted that the decision to dismiss him came after "reviewing the legal decisions made over the last couple of years." However, she offered no details on what those decisions were.
NEW: Virginia\u2019s new attorney general emphatically denies that he fired a @UVA lawyer because that lawyer is also helping investigate on the January 6 select committee. I pressed @JasonMiyaresVA on this after a spox told this to @washingtonpost. Here\u2019s the AG\u2019s response. @8NEWSpic.twitter.com/7Jf1hJ5w8y— Ben Dennis 8News (@Ben Dennis 8News) 1643063875
During a recent interview, Miyares echoed LaCivita and declined to share details about his decision. "I'm fine with anybody looking at January 6th. That had zero to do with the fact that our team decided to make a change," Miyares told 8News WRIC Richmond. "I'm not going to get into internal policy decisions, but it was internal. Had nothing to do with any work on January 6th."
However, Democrats argue otherwise. "This is purely payback for Jan. 6," said State Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Va.), "There is no other reason that makes any sense."
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