Amid a political firestorm in Virginia in recent days over a proposed abortion bill, the state’s Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax fired an emphatic denial of sexual assault allegations that re-surfaced.
The Lt. governor’s office slammed the “defamatory and false allegation” and promised legal action against those spreading the misinformation, Fox News reported.
Fairfax is next in line to replace Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam should he decide to step down as calls for his resignation continue over a racist photo from his medical school yearbook.
“Lt. Governor Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect,” a statement issued by his office read. “He has never assaulted anyone—ever—in any way, shape, or form.”
— Justin Fairfax (@LGJustinFairfax) February 4, 2019
Big League Politics, the blog that published Northam’s 1984 yearbook page, named Vanessa Tyson on Sunday as the one who had accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax slammed the accusations in the statement, saying the woman “first approached the Washington Post” over a year ago before his inauguration in 2018.
“The Post carefully investigated the claim for several months,” Fairfax’s office said in a statement. “After being presented with facts consistent with the Lt. Governor’s denial of the allegation, the absence of any evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation, the Post made the considered decision not to publish the story.”
“Tellingly, not one other reputable media outlet has seen fit to air this false claim. Only now, at a time of intense media attention surrounding Virginia politics, has this false claim been raised again,” the statement went on.
A post from the woman accusing Fairfax had appeared in the blog, saying,
“Imagine you were sexually assaulted during the DNC Convention in Boston in 2004 by a campaign staffer. You spend the next 13 years trying to forget it ever happened,” the accuser said. “Until one day you find out he’s the Democratic candidate for statewide office in a state some 3000 miles away, and he wins that election in November 2017.”
“Then, by strange, horrible luck, it seems increasingly likely that he’ll get a VERY BIG promotion,” she added.
While The Washington Post did agree that it had looked into the allegations, it pushed back against Fairfax’s claim that “significant red flags and inconsistencies” were found by the publication.
“Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present” reporter Theresa Vargas wrote Monday. “The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version.”
“The Post did not find ‘significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,'” Vargas added.
Fairfax issued his denial as the state has been rocked by attention over first, a controversial abortion bill proposed by Democratic Delegates allowing abortion up until birth and then fiery backlash over Northam defending the bill while appearing to suggest leaving babies to die even after birth.
A controversial photo the governor’s 1984 medical school yearbook showing a man in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan clothes sparked another round of outrage as demands for his resignation poured in. Adding to the tensions, Northam denied being in the photo the day after he admitted his regret over being in the same photo.
Over the weekend, Fairfax said the picture had “shocked and saddened” him in a statement.
— Justin Fairfax (@LGJustinFairfax) February 2, 2019
And though he asserted that he “cannot condone the actions from his past,” he was glad the governor had apologized and called him a “friend” over the years.
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