Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Justin Fairfax, Virginia lieutenant governor, accused by second woman of sexual assault

The latest: McAuliffe says Fairfax should resign Virginia power crisis escalates with 2nd woman accusing Democrat Lt. Governor of rape
Jeannette Daniel | 10 February, 2019, 06:30

"The Lieutenant Governor no longer has our confidence or support".

What does she say and he say?

One of the women, Vanessa Tyson, said in a statement earlier this week that at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Fairfax "put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch", and said that he "forced his penis into my mouth".

When asked Saturday night which basketball player Watson was referencing, Erin Friedlander of Evergreen Partners-the group issuing the statement on behalf of Watson-said the firm was "only providing the information contained in our statements at this time". Fairfax would take over if Gov. Ralph Northam were to resign over the racist photo that appeared on his medical school yearbook page.

The lawyer said Watson also told friends - including Fairfax - about the earlier incident.

Ms Watson is not seeking any damages, her lawyer says, but "came forward out of a strong sense of civic duty" and hopes Mr Fairfax will resign from public office. "I want to stand here in that truth and restate that my truth, as well as the truth of Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson, should be fully investigated and thoroughly assessed", Fairfax's statement said, also calling on the FBI to "investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me".

Fairfax vowed to clear his "good name" and noted he has passed Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks and run for office "with nothing like this being raised before".

"I can not believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual".

"I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide", Fairfax wrote, and declared: "I will not resign".

It's been a pretty bad couple of weeks for Democrats in Virginia.

Still, some Democrats, like presidential hopeful Cory Booker, are calling for Fairfax to resign while others are asking for an investigation.

More news: Backed forces lead final push against ISIS in Syria

Is anyone corroborating these allegations?

Watson's attorney also produced an email exchange from October 2016 between her client and Milagros Joye Brown, another friend from Duke, that details the alleged assault.

"She said she couldn't speak, but she was trying to get up and he kept pushing her down", said Ms Adams. He said: 'It's obvious from what happened this week that we still have a lot of work to do.

The Virginia GOP didn't hesitate to point out that the mild reaction amounted to what the party described as a "hall pass". The Daily Beast also obtained a Facebook message from March 2017 in which Watson sent an article to a friend about Fairfax: "This is absolutely disgusting!"

Fairfax has insisted that his encounter with Tyson, now a California professor, was 100 per cent "consensual".

What about the racism scandal?

But a day later he denied being in the photograph at all, while admitting to wearing blackface to imitate Michael Jackson at a dance contest.

Those denials are not enough for him to keep his job, according to his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature. "It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia", he said.

He added: "You have placed your trust in me to lead Virginia forward - and I plan to do that".

State attorney general Mark Herring was outraged by all of this.

Blackface traces its history to 19th Century "minstrel" shows that mocked African-Americans, but it was still deemed acceptable on USA comedy shows only in recent years.

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