Embattled Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is facing a revolt from within his own party after a second woman accused him of sexual assault.
Meredith Watson released a statement Friday alleging Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2000 while she was a student at Duke University. Earlier in the week, Vanessa Tyson came forward, alleging Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax has denied the allegations.
After news of the second accusation broke, Democratic Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope said Fairfax has a choice: resign or be pushed out.
“On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then,” Hope tweeted Friday.
On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then.
— Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) February 8, 2019
Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine also said Fairfax cannot remain in office. His statement followed statements from five Democratic members of Congress calling for Fairfax to resign.
“Lieutenant Governor Fairfax should resign,” Kaine tweeted. “The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth. We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault.”
Lieutenant Governor Fairfax should resign. The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes, and he can no longer effectively serve the Commonwealth. We cannot ever ignore or tolerate sexual assault.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) February 9, 2019
On Saturday, House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, echoed the comments from prominent Democrats, including former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, that Fairfax should step down, WAVY reported.
“There are multiple, serious credible allegations of sexual assault against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax. I deeply respect the principle of due process and believe that the gravity of this situation demands prudence and deliberation, but the Lt. Governor has clearly lost the trust and confidence of the people of Virginia. His ability to serve has been permanently impaired and, at this point, it is in the best interests of the Commonwealth for him to resign,” Cox said in a statement.
Multiple Democratic presidential contenders and senators issued calls for Fairfax to resign, The New York Times reported. As of Saturday, the list included Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California.
That call was repeated by Hollywood celebrities.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) February 8, 2019
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement late Friday saying “it is best for Lt. Governor Fairfax to step down from his position,” USA Today reported.
By Saturday, the Democratic Party of Virginia added its voice to that demand.
NEW: The Democratic Party of Virginia calls for the resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax amid allegations of sexual assault: “The Lieutenant Governor no longer has our confidence or support. He must resign.” https://t.co/kD545rQKpE pic.twitter.com/leaL6TjAfY
— ABC News (@ABC) February 9, 2019
On Friday, Fairfax resisted calls to resign.
“I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations,” he said in a statement. “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.”
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