HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - State senator Tommy Norment met with perjury suspect Elizabeth Coast today and is encouraging the attorney general and governor to let a man she wrongly accused of raping her free.
Norment, an experienced criminal attorney, told WAVY.com he met with Coast, but would not say what the two discussed due to attorney-client privilege.
Last week, Coast, who worked with the Hampton Police Division, confessed to a detective she had lied about a 2000 rape which landed Johnathon Montgomery in jail in 2008.
Montgomery has since been ordered free by a Hampton judge, but Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has said the judge did not have proper jurisdiction to make the decision that falls under the Virginia Court of Appeals.
Montgomery is preparing a Writ of Actual Innocence, paired with hearings that could last for weeks, keeping him imprisoned.
Sen. Norment wrote to Cuccinelli: "Considering this case involves the wrongful incarceration of an innocent man, I do not understand the apparently inflexibility of the position of the Office of the Attorney General."
Read Norment's full letter to Cuccinelli here.
Cuccinelli's Director of Communication responded: "One would assume the senator - a lawmaker and an attorney - knows this office doesn't legally have the 'flexibility' to ignore a law passed by the General Assembly, as he is suggesting."
Sen. Norment disagrees and thinks Cuccinelli can make things happen, stating: "There are exigent circumstances which dictate that justice must be tempered with mercy."
Montgomery's public defender is now joining forces with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project to prepare the necessary court papers to get the hearing before the Court of Appeals.
Once that is done, WAVY.com is being told there will be a fast track to get the hearing before a three judge panel in Richmond that can order the release of Montgomery.
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