Richmond Circuit Judge Bradley Cavedo and former GOP U.S. Senate candidate Daniel Gade have reached a settlement in Cavedo’s defamation suit over Gade’s assertion in a debate with Sen. Mark Warner that Cavedo was a “racist judge.”
Gade has retracted the statements he made about Cavedo during a debate with Warner at Norfolk State University.
“During the second of our three debates, I criticized Mark Warner for appointing Judge Bradley Cavedo to the bench in 2002,” Gade said in a statement. “In this exchange, I attacked Judge Cavedo based on incorrect information. I retract my statements about Judge Cavedo, and apologize to him and his family.
“The judge is a well-respected jurist and public figure who has served for decades in public life, and I bear him no ill-will. I am committed to bringing people together rather than dividing them, and I hope this apology helps move our political discourse in a more positive direction.”
Cavedo filed the suit in November, asserting that during the Oct. 3 debate, Gade falsely accused him of being “a known segregationist” and a “racist judge.”
The suit asserted: “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.”
Cavedo, citing damage to his personal and professional reputation, sought $2 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. The parties did not disclose any financial terms of the settlement.
Gade’s campaign has said his assertions about Cavedo during the debate were based on a column Cavedo wrote for the University of Richmond student newspaper in 1977.
In the signed column, Cavedo, editor of the paper’s editorial page, criticized President Jimmy Carter’s instant voter registration plan, saying it would “allow the parasites of this nation to become the dominating force in politics.”
In the column, Cavedo did not specifically mention Blacks or attack the concept of desegregation. But he criticized what he called a “massive” court-imposed busing plan that he said “nearly wrecked” his high school education.
Gade’s lawyer, Chris Woodfin, had initially said in November that Gade stood by his comments at the debate.
This week, Woodfin and Cavedo’s lawyer, Thomas Albro, both confirmed Gade’s apology and his retraction.
Gade lost the race to Warner, D-Va., who was elected to a third six-year term. Gade, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, has since set up New Mission PAC, which seeks to help veterans who are running for office.
Cavedo is the judge who initially blocked Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to take down the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue. In July, Cavedo recused himself from cases related to the Lee statue because his home is in the Monument Avenue Historic District.