- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A judge in Richmond ruled Tuesday that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam can remove a massive statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from its site on the historic Monument Avenue in the state’s capital city.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant found that the plaintiffs’ argument that the removal would violate restrictive covenants in the property deeds “would be contrary to public policy.”

The judge also found that the statue “was raised against a backdrop of white supremacy,” according to a tweet from Attorney Gen. Mark Herring.

Removal of the massive monument is temporarily suspended to allow the plaintiffs to appeal within one month.

A trio of residents filed the lawsuit in July after Mr. Northam ordered the statue to be removed amid nationwide protests over police brutality and racism.

Mr. Northam celebrated the decision in a statement Tuesday.

“The Lee monument was built to celebrate the Confederacy and uphold white supremacy. This victory moves Virginia forward in removing this relic of the past — one that was erected for all the wrong reasons,” the Democratic governor said.

The equestrian statue is located on historic Monument Avenue, where numerous Confederate statues have either been pushed over by protesters, or removed through an emergency order by Mayor Levar Stoney.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Patrick McSweeney of McSweeney, Cynkar & Kachouroff, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent Wednesday.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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