Judge who blocked removal of Robert E. Lee statue recuses himself from case

Judge who blocked removal of Robert E. Lee statue recuses himself from case
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The Virginia judge who temporarily blocked Gov. Ralph Northam (D) from removing a large statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the Monument Avenue traffic circle in downtown Richmond, Va., has recused himself from the case. 

Court records obtained by the Washington Post show Judge Bradley B. Cavedo withdrew from the case. 

The judge temporarily blocked Northam's order after a lawsuit was filed over the decision. The lawsuit was filed by William C. Gregor, who claims to be a descendant of the family that sold the land on which the Lee Monument stands.

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Four circuit judges have recused themselves from a separate lawsuit filed by residents of the area who argue that removing the statue would devalue their homes. Cavedo was considering a motion to join the two suits. 

Cavedo did not say why he was recusing from the case, but city records show he lives near the monument himself, the Post noted, which could pose a conflict of interest.  

A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring told the Post they “remain committed to ensuring the removal of this divisive and antiquated relic as soon as possible, and we’re hopeful this won’t cause any delay in resolving the matter.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate monuments standing on city property on Wednesday, saying it is "past time" for the statues to come down. 

Officials in Richmond removed a statue of Gen. Stonewall Jackson on Wednesday.