Justin Fairfax has long denied the accusations from two women who say he sexually assaulted them, and now he's filed a $400 million defamation suit against CBS over the matter. Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, said in the suit that the network knew before airing interviews with the women in April that the accusations had not been independently corroborated, WTKR reports. In the interviews, Vanessa Tyson told Gayle King that Fairfax sexually assaulted her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and Meredith Watson said Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were students at Duke University. "We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit," CBS told the Hill.
Fairfax says the encounters were consensual, and his suit says CBS didn't interview people who could have contradicted or confirmed the accusations. When the women went public in February, Fairfax was close to becoming governor: The incumbent, Ralph Northam, was facing calls to resign over a blackface photo that had surfaced decades after it was taken, per CNN. Northam is still governor. Fairfax says rivals tried to use Tyson's accusations against him politically. "The suggestion that Dr. Tyson came forward—at great personal risk—to detail her harrowing account of forced oral sex as part of a political conspiracy to prevent him from being Governor of Virginia is ludicrous," her lawyers said. (Read more Justin Fairfax stories.)