RICHMOND, Va. ― Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) vehemently denied a sexual assault allegation in opposition to him that resurfaced late Sunday, arguing it was timed to derail his potential ascent to the governorship.
“This allegation is totally false,” Fairfax mentioned at an impromptu press convention within the Capitol rotunda on Monday afternoon.
“I’ll be 40 years previous subsequent month. I’ve lived 40 years accusation-free. And there’s a purpose for that,” he mentioned. “And there’s additionally a purpose, in the intervening time when folks … suppose that there’s a chance I may be elevated to the governorship ― it’s at that time that they arrive out with the assaults and the smears.”
The lady accusing Fairfax of sexual assault has claimed he pressured her to carry out oral intercourse throughout an encounter that started consensually on the 2004 Democratic Nationwide Conference in Boston. Fairfax maintains the encounter was solely consensual and has threatened authorized motion to guard his popularity in opposition to a declare he referred to as “defamatory.”
At Monday’s press convention, he additionally mentioned the lady accusing him referred to as him months after the encounter in query to attempt to meet up along with her and meet her mom. When pressed for proof of her subsequent communication, Fairfax mentioned he didn’t have any as a result of it had occurred over the telephone.
Fairfax has grow to be the topic of nationwide consideration in current days as stress mounts on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign. Nearly each Democratic elected official within the state has withdrawn assist for Northam after a racist photograph from his medical college yearbook web page emerged Friday. Northam initially mentioned he appeared within the photograph, which reveals a person in blackface standing with one other man in a Ku Klux Klan uniform, however he subsequently recanted. At a Saturday press convention, Northam nonetheless admitted to a different occasion of carrying blackface.
Fairfax, the second black statewide elected official in Virginia’s historical past, would succeed Northam if the governor resigned. (Fairfax has not referred to as on Northam to resign; he declined to take action once more at Monday’s press convention.)
The chaos escalated Sunday night time because the specter of scandal unfold to Fairfax as effectively.
Huge League Politics, the identical conservative information website that first revealed Northam’s yearbook photograph, revealed a screenshot of a social media submit by a girl describing her sexual assault accusation in opposition to Fairfax.
“Think about you had been sexually assaulted in the course of the [Democratic National Convention] in Boston in 2004 by a marketing campaign staffer. You spend the subsequent 13 years making an attempt to neglect it ever occurred,” the lady wrote. “Till at some point you discover out he’s the Democratic candidate for statewide workplace in a state three,000 miles away, and he wins that election in November 2017. Then by unusual, horrible luck, it appears more and more doubtless he’ll get a VERY BIG promotion.”
Within the early hours of Monday morning, Fairfax’s employees issued an announcement denying the allegation. The assertion, co-signed by Fairfax’s chief of employees Lawrence Roberts and communications director Lauren Burke, mentioned The Washington Submit had investigated the allegation the earlier yr and determined to not publish a narrative on it because of the “absence of any proof corroborating the allegation, and vital pink flags and inconsistencies inside the allegation.”
“The Lt. Governor will take applicable authorized motion in opposition to these making an attempt to unfold this defamatory and false allegation,” Roberts and Burke mentioned.
Hours later, the Submit revealed its personal model of occasions, denying that it had unearthed any “pink flags” when the allegation got here to the newspaper’s consideration in November 2017.
The lady described a sexual encounter that started with consensual kissing, however she mentioned she finally observed that she couldn’t transfer her neck. The lady alleged that Fairfax then pressured her to carry out oral intercourse by way of bodily coercion, in line with the Submit.
The Submit didn’t publish the story in November 2017 as a result of it “couldn’t discover anybody who might corroborate both model,” and it discovered no proof of comparable allegations after interviewing a number of individuals who knew Fairfax in faculty, legislation college and through his political profession.
Fairfax and his employees are sticking by their story, and are accusing the Submit of performing with out journalistic integrity given its professed incapability to corroborate the story.
“The Washington Submit, acknowledging that it had no corroboration, simply smeared an elected official,” Burke mentioned in an announcement. “We ask additional: What different main elected official within the Commonwealth of Virginia could be smeared with sexual allegations that had been introduced with out corroboration?”
When requested Monday whether or not he would welcome his accuser to share her story with the legislature, Fairfax didn’t explicitly reject the thought.
“Anybody is free to talk up and be heard,” he mentioned.
As a celebration, Democrats have declared their intolerance of sexual misconduct of any sort.
They mobilized en masse in an try and preserve then-Supreme Courtroom nominee Brett Kavanaugh from being confirmed to the excessive courtroom after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her at a celebration in highschool. Democrats argued that Ford’s testimony earlier than the Senate was credible and compelling sufficient to disqualify Kavanaugh from a justice place.
Fairfax’s pushback ― particularly, implying sexual assault survivor’s allegation is much less credible as a result of the accuser reached out to the alleged assailant after the actual fact ― has already elicited some criticism in progressive circles.
Many sexual assault survivors have described befriending their attackers as a method of coping.
Lizzie Hylton, the political director of Clear Virginia, a Virginia-based progressive advocacy, highlighted that analysis, calling on Fairfax to “cease spreading rape myths.”