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Monday, May 6, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Former Virginia deputy attorney general sues old office

Monique Miles says her support of the people who stormed the Capitol last year got her fired.

RICHMOND, Va. (CN) — Suing Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares for defamation on Wednesday, a woman fired just weeks after she was hired as a deputy attorney general says the office falsely labeled her departure as a resignation.

Monique Miles claims that Miyares fired her for her opinions on the 2020 election and the riot on the U.S. Capitol that followed on Jan. 6, 2021. Represented by the Arlington, Virginia, lawyer Steven Krieger, she filed suit in Richmond City Circuit Court, seeking $1 million in damages.

In the complaint, Miles accuses Miyares and three other officials of damaging her reputation and client base for her law firm. “I would have not taken a leave of absence from my law practice to take on a two-year commitment to work for Miyares had I known that he lacked courage and the ability to stand up for his people in the face of political attacks,” Miles said in an interview Thursday about her lawsuit. 

Miles says Miyares hired her in mid-January 2021, shortly after his election, only to terminate her employment as The Washington Post prepared to publish screenshots of comments that Miles had posted to Facebook the previous year after armed supporters of former President Donald Trump attempted to overthrow the 2020 election.

“News Flash: Patriots have stormed the Capitol," Miles wrote on Facebook last year, when she was still considered a private citizen. "No surprise. The deep state has awoken the sleeping giant. Patriots are not taking this lying down. We are awake, ready and will fight for our rights by any means necessary."

In the comments of the post, Miles declared that Trump's Stop the Steal rally that directly preceded the riot was a “peaceful protest.” 

Miles claims in the complaint that she broached the topic of the posts with Chief Deputy Attorney General Charles “Chuck” Slemp III, a defendant in the case, after Washington Post reporter Justin Jouvenal asked her for comment.

Slemp allegedly requested an in-person meeting with Miles the following morning. As she did not fear retaliation from her colleagues, Miles says she brought screenshots of her posts. Miles is herself Black and quotes a text message that she sent to Slemp, Darrell Jordan, the chief of staff, and Klarke Kilgore, the office's director of external affairs, stating that the political left "always have their daggers out for black conservative females."

Slemp and Jordan in turn asked Miles to attend another meeting where she claims they told her she was effectively terminated from her role and that she had the option to resign. 

Less than an hour later, according to the complaint, Slemp emailed Miles, thanking her for resignation. When she called back and told Slemp that she had not resigned, he allegedly told her that the reason for her termination was that she had made misrepresentations during the interview process. 

“I did not want to file this case,” Miles told Courthouse News. “I was hoping the AG office would do the right thing and issue a statement to clear my name.” 

Representatives for the Virginia Attorney General's Office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Back in February, the office's spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita said in a press release that Miles and the office had parted ways due to a lack of transparency during the interview process. 

“The Washington Post challenged them, they kowtowed shamefully, and tossed me overboard in a cowardly move,” Miles said Thursday. 

Insisting that there was never a lack of transparency, Miles notes that Jordan would have been aware of her post and opinions as they had been friends on Facebook dating back four years.

Miles says in the complaint she texted several of her former colleagues to dispute how LaCivita characterized her firing. She said Jordan responded with the following message: “You had surrendered your OAG identification and equipment. The understanding was that you resigned." 

The complaint also quotes a message Miles sent to several of the defendants the afternoon of her firing. “I have done nothing wrong,” she wrote. As to her political beliefs, she claimed that her position on the 2020 election and the events of Jan. 6 were backed by “a large majority of republicans and many independents." 

The complaint describes a a text chain between Miles, Miyares and other members of the office in which she asked them to retract the statement. She says Jordan then contacted her individually and told her that the office was upset that she had spoken with a reporter at Newsmax, and that they viewed her talking with the press as a threat. 

Categories / Civil Rights, Employment, Government, Law, Politics

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