Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is blasting plans by state House Republicans to have a public hearing where Fairfax and the two women who have accused him of sexual assault can testify. Fairfax spokeswoman Lauren Burke issued a statement Friday saying House Republicans were proposing the hearing to distract from their recent votes against ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, a gender-equality measure, per the AP. (That measure had an unrelated controversy of its own.) Fairfax also said Republicans want to pursue an unprecedented action "because the accused is a popularly elected Democrat."
Two women have recently come forward with allegations that Fairfax sexually assaulted them years ago. One of them has already accepted the Republicans' invitation to testify. Fairfax has denied both accusations and said the matters should be investigated by law enforcement authorities. Friday's announcement is likely to set off a fierce partisan brawl, as Democrats have strongly resisted calls for the General Assembly to investigate. (The state's Democratic governor says he won't resign over blackface scandal.)
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