The situation in Virginia has officially arrived in “can’t make this up” territory, with both the sitting Democratic governor and the state’s second in line for the job admitting to wearing blackface, the third in line only winning his position because of a lucky draw from a ceramic bowl, the lieutenant governor being publicly accused by a Stanford professor of sexual assault, The Washington Post admitting to having known about the #MeToo accusation but declining to report it, and a fourth Democrat now acknowledging that he knew too.
But perhaps the most surreal aspect of the Virginia Democratic nightmare is that the accuser of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax has hired the law firm which represented none other than Christine Blasey Ford, and now we’ve learned that Fairfax has hired, you guessed it, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s legal team.
“In the latest bizarre twist to the multiple scandals rocking Virginia government, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has retained the same law firm that represented now-Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was going through the confirmation process and faced decades-old sexual misconduct allegations,” Fox News reports.
The law firm, the “boutique trial firm” Wilkinson Walsh Eskovitz, represented Kavanaugh amid the series of uncorroborated accusations against him prompted by his nomination for the Supreme Court. The most high-profile of Kavanaugh’s accusers was professor Christine Blasey Ford, who hired the famous liberal activist firm Katz, Marshall & Banks LLP — the firm Fairfax’s accuser, Dr. Vanessa C. Tyson, has retained.
Though Tyson’s hiring of Ford’s legal team hit the papers first, Fairfax had actually hired Kavanaugh’s lawyers a year ago when he first learned of Tyson’s accusations.
Fairfax learned of her accusations when he was contacted by The Washington Post, to whom Tyson had revealed her claims when Fairfax became a candidate for lieutenant governor. The Post ultimately declined to report on the accusations against the Democrat.
As The Daily Wire noted, the Post was the same paper that first published Ford’s bombshell claims against Kavanaugh. The reason the Post gave for choosing not to publish Tyson’s accusations: It coudn’t find “anyone who could corroborate” them. Ford’s claims were never corroborated; in fact, the witnesses she named all refuted her claims.
After right-leaning website Big League Politics published Tyson’s veiled accusation on social media, Fairfax cited the Post’s decision not to publish her claims as evidence that they were not credible. “The Post carefully investigated the claim for several months,” said a spokesperson for Fairfax. “After being presented with facts consistent with the Lt. Governor’s denial of the allegation, the absence of evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation, the Post made the considered decision not to publish the story.”
The Post responded by refuting Fairfax’s characterization of their rationale for not reporting the accusations and then released an account of her claims. “Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present,” the Post said. “The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version. The Post did not find ‘significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations.’”
On Wednesday, Tyson released the following statement detailing the alleged rape:
On the night of Friday, February 1, 2019, I read multiple news accounts indicating that Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax would likely be elevated to Governor as an immediate result of a scandal involving Governor Ralph Northam. This news flooded me with painful memories, bringing back feelings of grief, shame, and anger that stemmed from an incident with Mr. Fairfax that occurred in July 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
I met Mr. Fairfax on July 26, 2004, when he and I were working at the Convention. We struck up a conversation on the first day of the Convention and soon realized we had a mutual friend. We crossed paths occasionally during the first two days and our interactions were cordial, but not flirtatious. We commiserated about our long work hours, and on the afternoon of the third day of the Convention, July 28, 2004, Mr. Fairfax suggested that I get some fresh air by accompanying him on a quick errand to retrieve documents from his room in a nearby hotel. Given our interactions up to that time, I had no reason to feel threatened and agreed to walk with him to his hotel. I stood in the entryway of the room and after he located the documents, he walked over and kissed me. Although surprised by his advance, it was not unwelcome and I kissed him back. He then took my hand and pulled me towards the bed. I was fully clothed in a pantsuit and had no intention of taking my clothes off or engaging in sexual activity. In the back of my mind, I also knew I needed to return to Convention headquarters.
What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault. Mr. Fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch. Only then did I realize that he had unbuckled his belt, unzipped his pants, and taken out his penis. He then forced his penis into my mouth. Utterly shocked and terrified, I tried to move my head away, but could not because his hand was holding down my neck and he was much stronger than me. As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him. I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent. Quite the opposite. I consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again.
Fairfax has also released a statement on the allegations:
I’d like to begin by emphasizing how important it is for us to listen to women when they come forward with allegations of sexual assault or harassment. As a former prosecutor and someone who is close with a number of women who are survivors of sexual assault, I know that many survivors of sexual assault suffer in silence, and it is absolutely essential to their healing and our healing as a culture that we give all survivors the space and support to voice their stories.
Regarding the allegation that has been made against me – while this allegation has been both surprising and hurtful, I also recognize that no one makes charges of this kind lightly, and I take it and this situation very seriously.
This has been an emotional couple of days for me and my family. And in my remarks on Monday, I think you could hear how emotional dealing with an allegation that I know is not true has been for me.
As I have stated previously, fifteen years ago, when I was an unmarried law student, I had a consensual encounter with the woman who made the allegation. At no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions, neither during that encounter, nor during the months following it, when she stayed in touch with me, nor the past fifteen years. She in no way indicated that anything that had happened between us made her uncomfortable.
The first indication I had that she felt that anything that had happened between us fifteen years ago made her uncomfortable was when I was contacted by a national media organization shortly before my inauguration in 2018. I voluntarily met with their staff, in person, told them what I knew about the encounter and responded to all of their questions. I also shared the allegation and my account of the events with a number of leaders in Richmond because then, as now, I have nothing to hide.
I would like to encourage the media, my supporters, and others to treat both the woman who made this allegation and my family with respect for how painful this situation can be for everyone involved. I wish her no harm or humiliation, nor do I seek to denigrate her or diminish her voice. But I cannot agree with a description of events that I know is not true.
If we learned anything from the past week, it’s that we have to listen to people’s experiences to learn from them so we can make progress. Like many of you, I’ve spent time over the last several days discussing difficult subjects with people very close to me. I believe that if we continue to listen, we will continue to make the progress that makes the Commonwealth of Virginia a unique place, not only in the South, but in the United States of America.
These are unprecedented and difficult times. We have the opportunity to prove ourselves worthy of the challenge and come together. I look forward to continuing my work to unify the Commonwealth.