Scandals Drive Calls for Top Virginia Leadership to Resign

Reuters

House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox said in a statement Saturday that Fairfax's ability to govern has been "permanently impaired" by "multiple, serious credible allegations" of sexual assault made recently by two women.

Attorneys for Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson released statements Saturday saying the women would testify against Fairfax, who has faced calls from members of his own party to resign. Mr. Fairfax then used this prior assault against Ms. Watson, as he explained to her during the only encounter she had with him after the rape. "Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her".

"Justin Fairfax doesn't seem to have many, if any, Democrats who are out there defending him which leads me to ask 'what did you know?'" she said. She said that the attack she experienced was similar to that alleged by Dr. Vanessa Tyson, who said Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex after consensual kissing in 2004.

Boyd, whose group says it represents 109,000 farmers across the country, said on Twitter afterward that he pledged his support to the governor and "urged him NOT to step down".

Watson's statement lends further credence to the account provided by Vanessa Tyson, who has accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her 15 years ago in Boston, according to the joint statement from the five US representatives from Virginia. Patrick Hope, said he intends to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax on Monday if Fairfax hasn't left by then.

"If this were any other elected position in the Commonwealth, Virginia Democrats would be rightfully calling for a resignation", the Republican Party of Virginia said Friday. Fairfax has maintained the allegations against him are not true.

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After his weird news conference last Saturday, where he flip-flopped on whether he was in the racist yearbook photo but admitted to dressing in blackface at another time, Northam huddled with top aides in Virginia's executive mansion.

Fairfax has emphatically denied both allegations and said he won't step down.

Ultimately, some Democrats here said, they must begin the process of emerging from the wreckage that is the executive branch of Virginia state government by turning to what is perhaps their most loyal constituency: black women.

The latter, a Democratic freshman who won election to national office in 2018, asserted earlier this week that she believed Tyson.

He called top Virginia Democrats, at times almost in tears, to apologize for the controversy and looked to move on by staying out of the limelight.

"Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously".

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Those denials are not enough for him to keep his job, according to his fellow Democrats in the state Legislature.

"It's a nightmare right now", said Representative A. Donald McEachin, a Virginia Democrat who can trace his history here back to Revolutionary War-era slaves.

She came forward days after the disclosure by a conservative website of a racist photo on Northam's 1984 yearbook page of two individuals - one in blackface and the other dressed in white robes of the Ku Klux Klan. Until a week ago, Fairfax was a rising star in the Democratic party, and is only the second African American to ever hold statewide office in Virginia.

"The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia presides over the Virginia Senate and must be prepared to fill the role of Governor", they said.

The allegations come amid the racism controversies that have embroiled the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam and the state's Attorney General Mark Herring.

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Until Wednesday, that is, when Herring said he had worn "brown makeup" at a party in 1980 to impersonate the rapper Kurtis Blow . Northam, whose term runs through 2022, initially said he was in the photograph, but backtracked a day later.


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