Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Sunday issued a pardon for Scott Smith, a Loudoun County father who was convicted of disorderly conduct following a heated confrontation at a public school board meeting, which he attended “as a concerned parent” after his daughter was sexually assaulted in the school bathroom.
“Upon careful deliberation and review of the circumstances of the matter, I have decided it is just and appropriate to grant this absolute pardon that reflects Scott Thomas Smith’s factual innocence of disorderly conduct, for which he was convicted on Aug. 17, 2021,” the pardon read.
Smith was convicted of obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct in June 2021 after police intervened at a heated school board meeting. He had initially pleaded innocent. Smith made a statement on Sunday thanking Governor Youngkin for declaring that he was innocent and pardoning him unconditionally and completely. “While I was extremely confident in my lawyers’ abilities to defend me in court, I am grateful that the Governor recognizes that our justice system has been both weaponized and politicized to the point where my ability to receive a fair trial was in jeopardy.”
The case attracted national attention in the height of the pandemic, as a push for “parents’ rights” gained momentum and public school board meetings became a breeding ground for heated controversy. Parents were also concerned about the changing school policies regarding gender identity and bathrooms. Smith has stated that he did not intend to speak at the meeting and in fact, he did not. However, a member of the community confronted him and threatened to spread malicious and false information about his business to harm his reputation. The pardon stated that Smith was falsely accused by the public of “domestic terror” and “hate crimes” for trying to defend his daughter who had been a victim of violent sex assault. Loudoun County’s school board received a lot of criticism for the way it handled the assault allegation. An email revealed in 2021 that Superintendent Scott Ziegler had been aware of the accusation a month before he claimed to have no knowledge. Youngkin mentioned the Loudoun County incident many times during his campaign for governor. He repeatedly called for an investigation of the school board’s handling the assault allegations. Buta Biberaj of the Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, who prosecuted this case, told The Hill in a written statement that Governor Youngkin’s “political stunt” was an inappropriate and unprecedented intervention into an ongoing legal case. He chose to interfere in the legal process but not for justice but for political gain.”
Biberaj added, “The justice system does not work when a Governor becomes the judge and jury.”
Updated at 9:30 pm.
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