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Virginia Legislature will not give Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's accusers a hearing


Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault by two women

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

State Democrats in Virginia have rejected a proposal from state Republicans to have embattled Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's accusers testify before the state Legislature. Two women have come forward to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault.

Wait, what's going on in Virginia?

In a radio interview in late January, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam suggested that he would approve radical pro-choice legislation that would allow doctors and parents to kill an infant after it had been born. While this statement only seemed to garner outrage from conservatives, Northam was hit by another controversy just two days later when the website Big League Politics posted his college yearbook page, which included a photo of someone in Ku Klux Klan garb standing next to someone in blackface. Northam insisted that he was not either of the people in this picture, offering the strange defense of volunteering that he had worn blackface in another instance.

State and national Democratic leaders called on Northam to resign. Then the allegations of sexual harassment against Fairfax broke. To make matters worse for party leaders, the next in line to the governorship, Attorney General Mark Herring, admitted that he too had once worn blackface.

If all three of the state's top Democrats had resigned, Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox would become governor. After this, the calls for Northam's resignation seemed to die out.

What happened now?

Cox said in a statement on Tuesday that Republicans had tried to get the Virginia state Legislature to hold a hearing on the accusations against Fairfax. He said that on March 25, state Republicans had "laid out a specific set of parameters for a bipartisan hearing."

Virginia House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn responded in a letter that said that while Democrats "remain open to discussing the option of engaging a third party entity to conduct a hearing while taking into consideration fairness and due process for all involved," she thought that the proposed hearing "could easily be exploited for political purposes."

Cox criticized her response, saying in his Tuesday statement, "There should be no mistake about what has happened here: the alleged victims are seeking a bipartisan hearing; Republicans are seeking a bipartisan hearing; Democrats in the House of Delegates are refusing to allow that to happen."

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