UVA’s Heaphy Named Top Investigator for Select Committee on Jan. 6 Capitol Attack

Timothy J. Heaphy headshot

Timothy J. Heaphy, who investigated the August 2017 Unite the Right rally, will take leave from his post as University counsel to lead the probe into the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. (Contributed photo)

Timothy J. Heaphy, counsel and senior assistant attorney general at the University of Virginia, has been appointed to serve as chief investigative counsel for the congressional Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Mississippi, chair of the Select Committee, announced Heaphy’s selection Thursday.

“It’s good news for the Select Committee and for the American people that Mr. Heaphy has agreed to come on board as our top investigator,” Thompson said in a statement issued by his office. “Mr. Heaphy is a committed public servant with deep experience tackling complex and high-profile challenges. The Committee will need his expertise as we push ahead quickly on a number of fronts. I’m grateful for his willingness to support the Committee’s work getting answers about Jan. 6 and protecting our democracy.”

Heaphy will take a leave of absence from his UVA position while serving in his new role.

Heaphy was named UVA counsel and senior assistant attorney general in 2018. Attorneys in the Office of University Counsel are appointed by the attorney general of Virginia and represent the University on legal matters affecting University operations and interests. He is a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, appointed by President Obama in 2009 and serving through 2014. Before joining the University, as a partner at the law firm of Hunton Andrews Kurth, Heaphy conducted a comprehensive independent review of the August 11-12, 2017 mass demonstration events at the University and in Charlottesville for the City of Charlottesville.

Heaphy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UVA and a law degree from the UVA School of Law, said he is honored to accept the role and eager to pursue answers about Jan. 6.

“Like all Americans, I watched the events of Jan. 6 at the Capitol with surprise and disappointment,” he said in a statement. “My role as Chief Investigative Counsel to the Select Committee gives me an opportunity to help find out what led to those events and what we need to do to ensure they do not recur. I thank Attorney General Mark Herring and President Jim Ryan for giving me the opportunity to take a leave of absence from my current role as University Counsel to assume this responsibility. I am fortunate that I can take on this temporary assignment with the assurance of a return to a job and a place that I love.”

Herring praised the selection by the committee leader.

“With his deep Virginia roots and breadth of experience and knowledge, Tim has served the University of Virginia, President Ryan and the Board of Visitors well over the past three years,” he said. “I am incredibly proud that a member of my team has been asked to help with something as important as the investigation into just what happened that led to the insurrection on the Capitol on Jan. 6, and I wish Tim the best of luck in these endeavors.”

Ryan also expressed appreciation for Heaphy’s work at UVA and for his public service.

“Tim Heaphy is an extraordinary attorney whose service to his alma mater has been exemplary. I have relied on his wise counsel throughout my time as president. I wish him all the best in this important public service assignment, but also look forward to his return,” Ryan said. “In the meantime, UVA is fortunate to be able to call upon Tim’s colleague Jasmine Yoon, who will lead the Office of University Counsel in his absence. I’m grateful to both Tim and Jasmine for their service and leadership.”

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