Fairfax accuser’s attorney calls for impeachment hearings to provide ‘due process’

Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 18:58:54-05

RICHMOND, Va. – The attorney for Meredith Watson, the second woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, is asking Virginia lawmakers to begin the impeachment process against the embattled politician.

In the latest statement, attorney Nancy Erika Smith is calling for impeachment hearings to provide “due process” for the alleged victims and Fairfax himself.

“It turns out that Mr. Fairfax does not want due process; he wants to assault the character of his victims in secret, not in public, and certainly not under oath,” Smith wrote.

“Meredith Watson asks the Virginia Legislature to hold hearings, regardless of what they are called, and to reject a secret and delayed proceeding.”

Fairfax is denying the latest allegation made by Watson, a former Duke classmate, who said he raped her in a “premeditated and aggressive attack” while they were undergraduates in 2000.

RICHMOND, VA - FEBRUARY 07: Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, February 7, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia state politics are in a state of upheaval, with Governor Ralph Northam and State Attorney General Mark Herring both admitting to past uses of blackface and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax accused of sexual misconduct. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Last week, Dr. Vanessa Tyson shared her story, accusing Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in July 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

In his statement on Saturday, he acknowledges both interactions with the women but says both instances were consensual.

"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.

“Both victims of his sexual assault have agreed to testify, and they will produce witnesses and documents to show their honesty and good character. Please do not allow these women to be further victimized by delay and defamation,” Smith said in a plea to Virginia lawmakers.

In a statement released last weekend, Smith said at least two witnesses whom Watson told of the assault "the day after Fairfax raped her" are prepared to testify about her allegation.

The latest call for impeachment hearings comes after Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope backed off his plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday morning.

"Yesterday I sent draft language to my colleagues on the first step of an impeachment action regarding the Lt. Governor. There has been an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback which has led to additional conversations that need to take place before anything is filed," he wrote in a tweet early Monday.

Hope's decision came during a conference call Sunday night with Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates in which members voiced their strong opinion to Hope that the caucus was not prepared for articles of impeachment to be introduced, according to a source familiar with the talks.

CNN Wire contributed to this article.