Democrats have fully abandoned Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax amid multiple sexual assault accusations against him. Denying the charges, Fairfax has called for “a full investigation” into the claims, but Virginia Democrats are now using that against him.
After a second accuser came forward Friday claiming the politician sexually assaulted her years ago, Fairfax issued an unequivocal denial in which he blamed the allegations on a “vicious and coordinated smear campaign” against him and called for a full investigation.
“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever,” said Fairfax in a statement reported by NBC News. “I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth. I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before. It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me. I will not resign.”
But Fairfax’s fellow Democrat, Virginia House of Delegates Member Patrick Hope, announced shortly after Fairfax’s denial Friday that he will introduce articles of impeachment unless the lieutenant governor resigns by Monday. As a rationale for his call for impeachment, Hope cited Fairfax’s demand for an investigation.
“On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then.” Del. Hope said in a tweet Friday afternoon reported by The Hill. Hope followed up that tweet Friday night by explaining that Fairfax’s demand for an investigation requires that he be impeached. “The alleged crimes committed by LG Fairfax took place in Massachusetts and North Carolina. The impeachment process is the only way for Virginia to have the investigation that LG Fairfax has demanded,” Hope wrote.
“The impeachment process is the investigation,” the delegate wrote in response to those calling for an investigation, as Democrats called for one against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. “Once again, the impeachment process is the only way for Virginia to have the investigation that LG Fairfax has demanded,” Hope added in another post linking to a Washington Post editorial. Hope also retweeted a post noting that both accusers’ lawyers say the women “will tell their story if impeachment proceedings go forward.”
The first accusation against Fairfax came to light amid the fallout from Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface/KKK photo fiasco. Prof. Vanessa Tyson has accused Fairfax of forcing himself on her at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004, an incident she allegedly told multiple people about shortly after it occurred. She contacted The Washington Post about it a year ago, but the Post chose not to run the story, saying they failed to corroborate it.
A second accuser, Meredith Watson, came forward Friday, alleging that Fairfax raped her when they were students at Duke University in 2000, describing the attack as “premeditated and aggressive,” The Hill notes.
The Democrats from both the Virginia House and Senate have called for Fairfax to resign, as has the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.