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Lt. Gov. Fairfax wants FBI investigation; accusers willing to testify

Posted at 8:26 PM, Feb 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-10 09:44:01-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Two women accusing Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax  of sexual assault have offered to testify at any impeachment hearing that may take place. Fairfax, on Saturday, vowed not to resign and called on the FBI to investigate the women's claims against him.

Fairfax called the "interactions" he had with both women "consensual."

"I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else," Fairfax said in the statement.

"The one thing I want to make abundantly clear is that in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual," he said.

Tyson, in a statement earlier this week, said that at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Fairfax "put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head towards his crotch," and said that he "forced his penis into my mouth."

In response to the allegation, Fairfax in his Saturday statement said: "I heard from Dr. Tyson after the 2004 Convention, and she never said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort."

On Friday, a second woman, Meredith Watson, alleged that Fairfax raped her in a "premeditated and aggressive" incident that she said took place when they both attended Duke University in 2000.

Watson's legal team released an email exchange between her and a former Duke classmate from October 2016, in which Watson responded to an invitation to a Fairfax fundraiser by saying, "Justin raped me in college and I don't want to hear anything about him. Please, please, please remove me from any future emails about him please, Thank you!"

Fairfax also addressed Watson's claim in his statement, saying: "Regarding Ms. Watson, I knew Ms. Watson in college both before and after the encounter, and she never said to me that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort."

The top three Democrats in Virginia's state government are currently dealing with various scandals -- Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring both admitted to having worn blackface in the 1980s.

"What I have just expressed is the truth. I want to stand here in that truth and restate that my truth, as well as the truth of Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson, should be fully investigated and thoroughly assessed," Fairfax's statement said, also calling on the FBI to "investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me."

Accuser's attorney: Fairfax's new statement 're-victimizes' both women

Watson's attorney fired back saying his latest statement "re-victimizes" both women whose similar alleged sexual assaults "corroborate each other."

"We will provide at least two witnesses whom Ms. Watson told of the assault the day after Fairfax raped her," Watson's attorney, Nancy Erika Smith said. "We will also produce documentary evidence of Ms. Watson revealing to others the fact that Fairfax raped her."

Additionally, Watson's attorney said her client may contact North Carolina authorities about a possible criminal prosecution.

"For real due process, not hidden from the public, we invite Mr. Fairfax to join Ms. Watson and her witnesses in testifying at an impeachment hearing. Ms. Watson stands ready, although it will be painful, to tell the Virginia Legislature what Mr. Fairfax did to her when she was 20 years old," the statement read.

Additionally, Tyson's attorneys said she is also prepared to testify at impeachment proceedings against Fairfax.

"Lt. Governor Fairfax sexually assaulted [Tyson] in 2004, forcing her to perform oral sex without her consent," Tyson's attorneys, Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks, said. "In response to two credible claims of sexual assault, by women with no connection to one another, Lt. Governor Fairfax has claimed that the women lied about what he insists were consensual sexual encounters and has baselessly and callously attempted to discredit these women."

Tyson's attorneys said that once lawmakers hear Tyson’s "harrowing account" and testimony from corroborating witnesses, they will determine Fairfax " lacks the character, fitness and credibility to serve."

"Again today, he has attempted to mislead the public by volunteering to submit to an investigation by the FBI, which has no jurisdiction in this matter," Katz and Banks said. "Nevertheless, Dr. Tyson will cooperate in any investigation that occurs."

Virginia delegate to plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax

Virginia Del. Patrick Hope (D - Arlington) said he would introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax Monday if the lieutenant governor has not resigned by then.

"My sincere hope is that this will not be necessary and the lieutenant governor will heave the call of many to resign this weekend," Hope said. "If he does not, we will move forward on Monday."

Due to the lateness of the General Assembly session, Hope would need unanimous approval from the House of Delegates in order to create his articles of impeachment.

National Black Farmers Association President: 'People have a right to know all of the facts'

John Boyd, the president of the National Black Farmers Association, urged caution when it comes to Fairfax and Northam.

"Wait for lieutenant governor's scenario, wait for the proper investigation see and actually see what the results are before asking him to step down," he said. "People have a right to know all of the facts."

Boyd said the allegations needed to be investigated and there needs to be time so "all the facts come out."

Boyd, who met with the embattled  governor on Friday, said he supported and forgave Ralph Northam for the blackface and KKK photo that appeared on his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page.

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