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RICHMOND (AP) -- The effort to clear the name of a man who spent four years in prison for a sexual assault he didn't commit is moving forward.

The Virginia Court of Appeals on Friday agreed to let Johnathan Montgomery's petition for a writ of actual innocence move forward. If it is approved, the crimes would be removed from Montgomery's record and he would no longer have to register as a sex offender.

The 26-year-old Montgomery had served four years of a 7 1/2-year sentence for a sexual assault conviction when his accuser admitted she lied.

Gov. Bob McDonnell granted a conditional pardon in November, freeing him from prison. But the convictions will remain until Montgomery is exonerated by the court.

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