Abbott's elevation as interim commonwealth's attorney was a bit of a surprise to many, who assumed Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Adrian J. Collins would serve in the position pending the election.
Earlier this week, Collins disputed Abbott's elevation by taking the matter before Wise County Circuit Court Judge Chadwick Dotson.
In a petition filed before the court on Tuesday, Collins
asks Dotson to set aside the oath of office sworn to by Abbott
, an oath certified by the judge.
asserts the oath "and acceptance of same" is contrary to Virginia law.
Collins cites a memorandum dated Nov. 25 from Elkins advising that Abbott "shall be highest ranking full time assistant attorney for the Commonwealth prior to my resignation" and Abbott "shall become acting Commonwealth's Attorney for Wise County/City of Norton."
In his petition, Collins
said while Elkins advised that Abbott
"would be vested with such power, no action was taken to replace, remove or demote" him as chief deputy commonwealth's attorney.
On Thursday, Collins
filed the petition to ensure the issue of successorship of the office is legal.
I hope to get this resolved and in the meantime, Mr. Abbott and myself will continue to handle our cases and be professional and uphold our duties the best we can while doing our job," Collins