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Virginia AG Fires 2 University Counsels

January 25, 2022

Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares has fired the top lawyers at George Mason University and the University of Virginia, The Washington Post reported.

Counselors for the two public universities are appointed by the attorney general.

Tim Heaphy, former counsel for the University of Virginia, was on leave to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol before Miyares dismissed him. Victoria LaCivita, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, called Heaphy’s hire controversial and said that former Democratic attorney general Mark Herring had “excluded many qualified internal candidates when he brought in this particular university counsel.” Heaphy’s dismissal was not related to his current investigation, the spokesperson said.

Michael Kelly, Herring’s former chief of staff, contested this characterization of Heaphy, noting that “far from being controversial, his hire was celebrated by the university community and leadership.”

Brian Walther, former counsel for George Mason University, was fired so that Miyares can select someone who shares his “philosophy and legal approach,” LaCivita told the Post. Heaphy and Walther are Democrats; Miyares is a Republican.

Miyares has fired at least 30 staff members since taking office Jan. 15.

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