NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Despite thousands of residents signing a recall petition asking for Anthony Burfoot to be removed as city treasurer, a judge ruled a nonsuit was appropriate.
A nonsuit is a judgement against a plaintiff when it appears a case cannot be established at first look.
The recall petition to oust Burfoot from his position was submitted last year, before he was tried and convicted in federal court for corruption and perjury.
John Hill helped spearhead the recall petition and said he was disappointed with the outcome Friday.
"We're accepting the state's decision to some degree, but we wanted the statute to be valid," said Hill.
Last year, Burfoot's civil recall trial was delayed pending the outcome of the federal case.
In court Friday, the special prosecutor in the case, Mike Herring, asked the judge not to proceed with the recall trial, citing a lack of evidence. He said the crimes were committed while Burfoot served on Norfolk City Council, not when he was Norfolk City Treasurer.
"The specific allegations of the petition would not prove an adverse impact on the operation of the office, and that would be fatal in any trial," said Herring.
Burfoot's attorney, Andrew Sacks, agreed with Herring and said he and his client are appealing the criminal conviction aggressively. If they win, Burfoot could be re-instated as city treasurer.
"He wants to gain his freedom, of course, to the extent his honor and integrity are bound up in the office he was elected to," said Sacks. "He wants to go out on those terms and not on terms where he's been forcibly removed. To that extent, it's important that he clear his name."
Although there was a guilty verdict in the criminal case, a loophole in Virginia law allowed Burfoot to continue serving in his capacity as city treasurer. Burfoot currently is suspended from his duties, with Amelia Ortega appointed as acting city treasurer.
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