The Slatest

Virginia Lt. Gov. Fairfax Pushes Back Against Demands to Resign, Calls for FBI Probe

Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax reads over a document on the Senate floor at the Virginia State Capitol, February 8, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.
Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax reads over a document on the Senate floor at the Virginia State Capitol, February 8, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is staying put. Fairfax made clear over the weekend that he has no plans to resign, insisting that sexual encounters with the women who have accused him of sexual assault were consensual. To bolster his claim that the has nothing to hide, Fairfax called on the FBI to investigate the allegations. “This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia,” Fairfax said in a statement. “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.”

The statement issued Saturday night marked the first time that Fairfax acknowledged he did have an encounter with Watson, who alleges Fairfax raped her when they were both students at Duke University. The lieutenant governor insisted though that the “interactions” with both Watson and Tyson, who first accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, “were consensual” and he called on the public not to jump to conclusions. “I am asking that no one rush to judgment and I am asking for there to be space in this moment for due process,” Fairfax added.

Democratic Del. Patrick Hope has said he will seek to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax if he doesn’t resign by Monday. For now it doesn’t seem like the threat is too imminent considering “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,” notes the Associated Press. But both Watson and Tyson said they are willing to testify if an impeachment hearing does take place.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is engulfed in his own scandal after admitting to wearing blackface, said he supports an investigation into the allegations against Fairfax but didn’t call on him to resign. “I can only imagine that it must take tremendous courage for women to step forward and and talk about these things that are just- are just so hurtful. And these accusations are very, very serious. They need to be taken seriously. As you know, Governor Fairfax has called for an investigation. I really think where we are now, we need to get to the truth,” Northam said on CBS.