Despite Two Assault Accusations, Virginia’s Lt. Governor Resists Calls to Resign

(RICHMOND, Va.) — Virginia’s embattled lieutenant governor has urged authorities to investigate sexual assault allegations made against him, but hasn’t heeded calls to resign and it is unclear what comes next for the once-rising star of the state Democratic Party.

Two women have made allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. But on Saturday, Fairfax issued a statement repeating his strong denials that he had ever sexually assaulted anyone and made clear he does not intend to immediately resign.

Democratic Del. Patrick Hope said he wants to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday, but Hope is not a powerful figure in the House and there’s little sign there’s a broad appetite for impeachment with lawmakers set to finish this year’s legislative session by the end of the month.

If an impeachment hearing does occur, though, Meredith Watson, 39, is willing to testify that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000, her attorney said in a statement.

“Ms. Watson stands ready, although it will be painful, to tell the Virginia Legislature what Mr. Fairfax did to her when she was 20 years old,” the statement said.

Attorneys for Vanessa Tyson, a California college professor who said Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at a Boston hotel in 2004, also released a statement saying their client would be willing to testify.

“We are confident that once the Virginia legislature hears Dr. Tyson’s harrowing account of this sexual assault, the testimony of many corroborating witnesses, and evidence of his attempts to mislead the public about The Washington Post’s decision not to run a story in 2018, it will conclude that he lacks the character, fitness and credibility to serve in any capacity,” the statement said.

Fairfax has denied both allegations and on Saturday asked that “no one rush to judgment.”

“Our American values don’t just work when it’s convenient — they must be applied at the most difficult of times,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ralph Northam pledged to work at healing the state’s racial divide and made his first official appearance a week after a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page surfaced and he acknowledged wearing blackface in the 1980s. Northam has also defied calls from practically his entire party to step down.

After the second allegation against Fairfax was made Friday, he was barraged with demands to step down from top Democrats, including a number of presidential hopefuls and most of Virginia’s congressional delegation. Fairfax is the second African-American to ever win statewide office.

Northam — now a year into his four-year term — has told his top staff he’s staying in office and said he wants to focus the rest of his term as governor on taking concrete steps toward increasing racial equality.

In his first interview since the scandal erupted, a chastened Northam told The Washington Post on Saturday that the uproar has pushed him to confront the state’s deep and lingering divisions over race, as well as his own insensitivity. But he said that reflection …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

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