As Fairfax Doubles Down, So Do His Accusers

Virginia lieutenant governor says he won't resign, accusers say they'll testify
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 10, 2019 6:45 AM CST
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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, gavels the session to order at the start of the Senate session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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(Newser) – Attorneys for a woman who has accused Virginia's embattled lieutenant governor of sexual assault say their client is "prepared to testify at impeachment proceedings and to cooperate with law enforcement in any investigation." Attorneys Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks released the statement Saturday night on behalf of Vanessa Tyson, a California college professor, who said Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at a Boston hotel in 2004, reports the AP. A second woman, Meredith Watson, has accused Fairfax of rape in 2000. Her attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, says Watson also is willing to testify in front of the state legislature if an impeachment hearing takes place.

Fairfax says the encounter with Watson was consensual. The two were students at Duke University at the time. Smith says Watson will provide investigators at least two witnesses who she told about the alleged assault the day after it occurred. Fairfax issued a statement Saturday again denying the allegations. He made clear he is not immediately resigning and called for "space in this moment for due process." He's also calling for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate. As for whether an impeachment hearing could happen, the AP separately reports Democratic Del. Patrick Hope said he wants to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday. But Hope is not a powerful figure in the House and there's little sign there's a broad appetite for impeachment with lawmakers set to finish this year's legislative session by the end of the month.

(Read more Justin Fairfax stories.)

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