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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax files $400 million defamation suit against CBS

He's not messing around

Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) is suing CBS Corp. and CBS Broadcasting for $400 million after the outlet interviewed his sexual assault accusers over their allegations.

What are the details?

Fairfax's lawsuit says that CBS subjected him to defamation by airing interviews with Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, both of whom accused him of sexually assaulting them.

Talking to CBS' Gayle King in February, one woman accused Fairfax of rape and the other accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

Fairfax has repeatedly insisted that the women's claims were fabricated.

The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Virginia's Eastern District, also insists that the network withheld pertinent information that indicated "both allegations had not been corroborated by any independent investigation."

"Yes," the suit reads, "CBS must be held accountable for its reckless disregard for the truth, knowing failure to follow even rudimentary journalistic standards, and its failure to follow up on leads that would demonstrate the allegations to be false."

The suit points out that Fairfax intends to clear his name with the litigation.

"Fairfax brings this action to restore his reputation and clear his name, ensure the truth prevails, stop the weaponization of false allegations of sexual assault against him, and vindicate his rights under civil law," the lawsuit adds.

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for CBS said, "We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit."

Anything else?

In February, Fairfax compared the allegations to "terror lynchings" during an impassioned speech before the state's Senate.

Fairfax's controversial remarks came in response to remarks made by Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R), who told the lieutenant governor, "I just want to personally thank you for your professionalism, the manner in which you have presided over the Senate during these times that are stressful for you and your family, and I am most appreciative of your even-handedness, your gentile manner, and the professionalism which you've demonstrated throughout this session."

"I've heard much about anti-lynching on the floor of this very Senate, where people were not given any due process whatsoever, and we rue that," Fairfax responded. "And we talk about hundreds, at least 100 terror lynchings that have happened in the Commonwealth of Virginia under those very same auspices. And yet we stand here in a rush to judgment with nothing but accusations and no facts, and we decide that we are willing to do the same thing."

He continued, "If we go backward and we rush to judgment and we allow for political lynchings without any due process, any facts, any evidence being heard, then I think we do a disservice to this very body in which we all serve."

One last thing…
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