Virginia Judge Sues Daniel Gade Over Debate Claims

Sen. Mark Warner, left, D-Va., and his Republican challenger, Daniel Gade, right, go head to head over issues of racial inequalities during the U.S. Senatorial debate at Norfolk State University, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Norfolk, Va. (Stephen M. Katz/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

By Associated Press
November 11, 2020

GOP Senate candidate claimed judge was racist

RICHMOND — A judge in Virginia has filed a defamation suit against former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Gade over claims the judge was “racist.”

The suit states Gade falsely accused Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley B. Cavedo of being “a known segregationist” and a “racist judge” during an Oct. 3 debate at Norfolk State University. The suit claims: “Gade also stated that Cavedo had written that ‘Black people are parasites’ who would suck billions of dollars out of our economy.’ None of these statements are true.”

Gade’s campaign said his statements about Cavedo were based on a column Cavedo wrote for the University of Richmond student newspaper in 1977.

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The column drew attention this year after Cavedo had initially blocked Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to take down the Robert E. Lee statue on Ricmond’s Monument Avenue. Cavedo later recused himself from cases related to the statue because his home is in the same neighborhood.

Gade had criticized Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner during last month’s debate for appointing Cavedo to the bench as governor in 2002.

Cavedo’s 1977 column had criticized President Jimmy Carter’s instant voter registration plan. He said it would “allow the parasites of this nation to become the dominating force in politics.”

During the debate, Gade said: “He said that Black people are parasites and he said they would suck billions of dollars out of our economy, and yet you appointed him anyway, so don’t preach to me about what I need to say. You need to talk about your own actions.”

Cavedo did not specifically mention Black people in the column. But he criticized what he called a “massive” busing plan that he said “nearly wrecked” his education.

Cavedo said his personal and professional reputation have been damaged. He is seeking $2 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

Gade lost his bid to unseat Warner last week.

Gade’s lawyer, Chris Woodfin, said in a statement Tuesday that Gade stands by his statement, “and joins prominent members of the Virginia House of Delegates, news reporters, and political organizations in condemning Judge Bradley Cavedo’s offensive comments targeting people of color.”

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