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Fairfax faces impeachment if he doesn't resign over second sexual assault allegation, Virginia Democrat warns


Embattled Democratic lawmaker denies claims, refuses to resign

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Virginia House of Delegates Member Patrick Hope (D) said Friday he plans to initiate the impeachment of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D).

"On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then," Hope wrote on Twitter.

What led to this?

The law firm representing the second accuser, Meredith Watson, alleged in a statement that Watson was raped by Fairfax in 2000 while they were students at Duke University.

"Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession," the statement reads. "Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.

"Ms. Watson was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her. The details of Ms. Watson's attack are similar to those described by Dr. Vanessa Tyson.

"At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character. She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages."

Fairfax's first accuser, Dr. Vanessa Tyson, alleges that he forced her to perform a sexual act at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

Watson's allegations led to other Democrats to call for the lieutenant governor's ouster, The Hill reported:

"We believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson. We found her account compelling and highly credible. The central issue at the heart of her account is consent, and there can be no better authority to decide whether it was given than Dr. Tyson herself," several Virginia Democratic lawmakers said in a statement Friday night.

Fairfax denied the first allegation in a Feb. 6 statement.

"...I cannot agree with a description of events I know is not true," he wrote.

Fairfax also denied the second allegation on Friday and said he would not resign.

"It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me," he stated.

Anything else?

The allegations come at a time when other scandals are rocking Virginia politics. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is facing backlash over a racist 1984 medical school yearbook photo and Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring has admitted that he wore a "black face." Northam denies that he is pictured in a yearbook photo of a male wearing a "black face" and another in a Klu Klux Klan uniform.

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