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Investigation Into Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's Yearbook Was Inconclusive


Now to Norfolk, Va., where after more than three months of investigation, it's still not clear whether Governor Ralph Northam posed in a racist photo found on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. Mallory Noe-Payne of member station WVTF has the latest on the inconclusive findings released today.

MALLORY NOE-PAYNE, BYLINE: Investigators say they couldn't confirm or deny the governor's claims that he is not in the photograph, and they don't know who is. Ben Hatch is with the law firm that Eastern Virginia Medical School hired to investigate.


BEN HATCH: While we have identified no information that the photograph was placed on Governor Northam's personal page in error or by any other means not at his direction, we could not conclusively determine the origin of that photograph.

NOE-PAYNE: The report did reveal that staff at the school knew about the image. The school's president, Richard Homan, says he found out about the photo when Northam was running for governor. He made the call not to make it public and stands by that choice.


RICHARD HOMAN: We're apolitical, and I did not feel that that was a necessary disclosure I needed to make. My job is to focus on improving the diversity inclusion activities and priorities we had in this school.

NOE-PAYNE: In a statement today, Governor Northam emphasized he is also focused on diversity and inclusion. He has more than two years left in his term and no plans to step aside. For NPR News, I'm Mallory Noe-Payne in Norfolk. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Mallory Noe-Payne
Mallory Noe-Payne is a freelance reporter and producer based in Richmond, Virginia. Although she's a native Virginian, she's most recently worked for public radio in Boston. There, she helped produce stories about higher education, including a nationally-airing series on the German university system. In addition to working for WGBH in Boston, she's worked at WAMU in Washington D.C. She graduated from Virginia Tech with degrees in Journalism and Political Science. For more frequent updates from Richmond, or occasional commentary on rock climbing and vegetable gardening, you can follow Mallory on Twitter @MalloryNoePayne.