The last high-level state support for Virginia Military Institute's all-male admissions policy collapsed Tuesday, as Attorney General Mary Sue Terry asked a judge to let her withdraw from defending the school in its battle against the federal government.

Terry's request, if approved by U.S. District Judge Jackson Kiser, could leave the VMI Board of Visitors with no attorneys defending it against a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit seeking to force the taxpayer-funded school to admit women.Terry said that Gov. L. Douglas Wilder last week eliminated the legal argument she had planned to offer on behalf of VMI when he declared he was prepared to testify in court against the academy.

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