Correction: An earlier version of the story indicated that the request had been filed, but it has not yet been filed.
In an expected move, Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney Jim Plowman plans to request the appointment of a special prosecutor to represent Sterling citizens who filed a petition Monday in Loudoun County Circuit Court requesting that Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) be removed from public office.
In the prepared motion, Plowman said that the appointment of another prosecutor was appropriate to maintain integrity in the case, as “the subject matter of the allegations, the individuals surrounding the complaint, and those that may be witnesses are County employees, prominent members of the community or members of the elected Board of Supervisors.”
On Tuesday, Judge Burke F. McCahill ordered that Delgaudio appear at a hearing to address whether he should be removed from his seat on the county Board of Supervisors, after members of a grass-roots political group called Sterling Deserves Better submitted the petition. The petition alleges that Delgaudio, who was the subject of a criminal investigation last year, has misused his office, neglected his duties and is unfit to represent his district.
To avoid a potential conflict of interest, the petitioners requested in their motion that they be represented by an attorney other than Plowman or Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos, who led the criminal investigation of Delgaudio.
That investigation, which concluded in June, did not result in an indictment. But a special grand jury impaneled to review the evidence took the step of issuing a report that detailed a number of concerns with Delgaudio’s conduct in office — including the potential misuse of county staff and resources; allegations that campaign funds might have gone unreported; a disregard for constituent services; a hostile work environment; and an overlap between the work of his county office and that of his conservative nonprofit group, Public Advocate of the United States, which campaigns against gay rights and has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Delgaudio has consistently denied wrongdoing. His attorney, Charles King, said Tuesday that he looked forward to the opportunity to try the case in court.
In a prepared statement, King characterized the petition as “thin gruel” and said the allegations were “a long reach under the statute.”
He noted that Delgaudio takes “clearly provocative views” as the head of Public Advocate.
“If you disagree with him strongly, use the political process, not a slap suit,” King said.
A hearing is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday.