Va. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Continues to Deny Sexual Assault Allegations

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The chaos in Richmond heated up Saturday evening, as Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax issued a new statement denying both accusations of sexual assault against him and calling for an FBI investigation.

On Friday, another woman, Meredith Watson, accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her while they were students at Duke University in 2000.

This allegation came just days after Vanessa Tyson claimed Fairfax sexually assaulted her at a Democratic National Convention in 2004.

Fairfax denies the accusations, insisting both of the encounters were consensual.

In a statement made on Saturday, the Lieutenant Governor called for an investigation by "appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI”.

Fairfax also asked for respect and patience from lawmakers who called for his resignation.

However, top Democrats like presidential hopeful, Kirsten Gillibrand, called upon Fairfax to resign immediately.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) New York stated, "With the Lieutenant Governor, the second allegation has been corroborated, found to be credible by those who investigated it. That, added to the first allegation which I personally found credible, leads me to call for his resignation because there's no place for the mistreatment of women by our leaders.

Late Saturday evening, Watson’s attorney released a statement to invite Fairfax to join Watson and two eyewitnesses in testifying at an impeachment hearing.

Amidst the new accusations against Fairfax, Governor Ralph Northam continued to remain relatively out of the spotlight, and a new poll showed that Virginians remain split on whether or not the governor should resign.

According to a Washington Post poll, 47 percent of people living in Virginia want the governor to step down, while the other 47 percent says the governor should remain in office.

Northam announced Friday that he does not plan to resign as governor.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor (D) Justin Fairfax's statement in regards to the recent sexual assault allegations directed toward him. 

"This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else. Our American values don’t just work when it’s convenient — they must be applied at the most difficult of times.

As an officer of the court and a former federal prosecutor, I have dedicated my life to the law and due process.  Consequently, I call on all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson. I ask that all three of us be respected during this process. 

The one thing I want to make abundantly clear is that in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual.

I heard from Dr. Tyson after the 2004 Convention, and she never said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort. 

Regarding Ms. Watson, I knew Ms. Watson in college both before and after the encounter, and she never said to me that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort. 

What I have just expressed is the truth. 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. I believe and trust that due process will provide the fairness, justice and honesty that is necessary. I am asking that no one rush to judgment and I am asking for there to be space in this moment for due process."

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith, Meredith Watson's legal representative, released the following statement. 

"Justin Fairfax’s latest statement re-victimizes Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson.  He claims that two women, who never spoke or met each other, but who describe very similar sexual assaults, are lying. Fairfax says both women’s claims are “unsubstantiated.” False - they corroborate each other.

Fairfax, now, for the first time admits sexual contact with Ms. Watson, but now claims that it was “consensual.” There was nothing consensual about the rape of Ms. Watson and the only post rape interaction between them consisted of Ms. Watson confronting Mr. Fairfax about the assault. We will provide at least two witnesses whom Ms. Watson told of the assault the day after Fairfax raped her.  We will also produce documentary evidence of Ms. Watson revealing to others the fact that Fairfax raped her. Fairfax says he “passed” two FBI background checks. Ms. Watson was never interviewed by the FBI, so he was “cleared” of nothing related to his rape of Ms. Watson. 

Mr. Fairfax claims to want due process, saying he seeks an FBI investigation.  But he knows as a former Prosecutor, that the FBI has no jurisdiction over this matter. Indeed, my client may contact North Carolina authorities about a possible criminal prosecution.

For real due process, not hidden from the public, we invite Mr. Fairfax to join Ms. Watson and her witnesses in testifying at an impeachment hearing.  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."