Ex-Virginia official sues after losing job over Jan. 6 posts

Aug 19, 2022, 1:19 PM | Updated: 1:33 pm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A former deputy Virginia attorney general who says she was fired over social media posts in which she praised the Capitol rioters as “patriots” and falsely claimed Donald Trump won the 2020 election is suing the attorney general’s office for defamation.

Monique Miles alleges in her lawsuit that Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares and members of his staff damaged her professional reputation and credibility when a spokesperson told the media she had resigned from her job and that she was not transparent during her initial interviews for the job.

Miles said she was forced out of her job as The Washington Post was getting ready to publish a story with screenshots of Facebook posts she wrote as a private citizen, more than a year before she began working as the deputy attorney general of the Government Operations and Transactions division, which oversaw work on issues related to election integrity.

“News Flash: Patriots have stormed the Capitol,” Miles wrote. “No surprise. The deep state has awoken the sleeping giant. Patriots are not taking this lying down. We are awake, ready and will fight for our rights by any means necessary.”

The lawsuit seeks $1 million in damages.

In her complaint, Miles said she was aggressively recruited to apply for a job as a deputy attorney general shortly after Miyares won the 2021 election. She said she had known Darrell Jordan, Miyares’ chief of staff, for about four years and believed the office was aware of her views about the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 riots because she and Jordan were Facebook “friends” and he was “privy” to her posts.

Miles said no one in the attorney general’s office — including Miyares — asked her about her political views during interviews for the job.

About a week after Miles began her job in January, a friend told her the Post had asked her for comment on a story about Miles. She said she immediately told Jordan and other officials in Miyares’ offiice.

On Feb. 10, she said she had a series of meetings, phone calls and text messages with the officials in which she presented them with screenshots of her Facebook posts and explained that she had later edited some of them as she gained “more information from the news, post-election lawsuits, legislative hearings, and election audits as information was unfolding.”

In a text exchange with Jordan, she wrote, “I don’t condone the Jan. 6 riot or any of the lawlessness,” according to the lawsuit.

Miles said she was told the attorney general’s office would give her “an opportunity to resign,” but she did not do so.

Miles said she sent a message to several officials — including Miyares — and told them, “I have done nothing wrong.”

The lawsuit says that Miyares’ director of communications, Victoria LaCivita, issued a statement saying Miles had resigned. Miles said she was inundated by news outlets seeking comment, but she did not respond at first, believing that Miyares’ office would correct their statement. But when no correction was issued, Miles said she reached out to the media to say she had been asked to resign because of statements she made about the election and the events of Jan. 6.

LaCivita, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, said in a statement Friday that the attorney general’s office “commits to vigorously defend against Ms. Miles’ claim for $1 million of taxpayer money and is confident that our legal position is strong.”

According to the lawsuit, a statement issued by LaCivita said the attorney general’s office and Miles had “parted ways” because she showed a “lack of transparency during her initial interviews for the position.”

Miles said the statement impugned her reputation for truthfulness and integrity, qualities that are especially important as an attorney in a profession in which character and fitness are required to maintain a license to practice law.

“This is all about clearing my name,” Miles said in a telephone interview Friday.

Miles said in the lawsuit that she has lost clients because of the suggestion that she was not transparent and has been questioned by at least two judges in open court about the matter.

Courthouse News first published a story about the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Richmond Circuit Court..

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Ex-Virginia official sues after losing job over Jan. 6 posts