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VA. LT. Gov. removed from DLGA after 2nd assault accuser comes forward

10 February 2019

Meredith Watson claims she was raped by Fairfax in a "premeditated and aggressive assault" while both were students at Duke University back in 2000.

Virginia slid deeper into crisis on Wednesday, when Attorney General Mark Herring acknowledged wearing blackface at a college party in 1980, and Fairfax was publicly accused of sexual assault for the first time.

Watson is the second woman to come forward with sexual assault allegations against Fairfax this week.

Warren said the allegations "make it clear that Lt. Gov Fairfax should resign". It has decimated the governing leadership, as well as the Virginia Democratic Party.

On Saturday night, the lieutenant governor signaled no intention to resign and defended himself against the claims.

Lt. -Gov. Justin Fairfax, the state's second-highest elected official, faces the prospect of impeachment proceedings at the hands of another Democrat next week after two women separately accused him of sexual crimes, including rape.

Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly to them: If all three Democrats resigned, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor.

According to Watson's attorneys, former classmates have provided statements corroborating the allegations and that she "immediately told friends that Fairfax had raped her". Northam said the experience, as well as week of reports highlighting his behavior, has taught him that the incident could be therapeutic. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia. Mr. Fairfax has tried to brand me as a liar to a national audience, in service to his political ambitions, and has threatened litigation.

Watson also confided in a friend after seeing that Fairfax was running for office.

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". Many believe current Gov. Ralph Northam is the man wearing blackface in the photo. He has met African-American legislators and faith and community leaders, and has begun reading up on race - The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nahesi Coates, a few chapters of Roots by Alex Haley.

If Northam steps down, as many critics have called for him to do, Fairfax would assume the governorship.

Fairfax has emphatically denied both allegations and said he won't step down. Tim Kaine said, "The allegations against him detail atrocious crimes".

Rep. A. Donald McEachin, another Democrat in the delegation, tweeted shortly after his colleagues' statement went out that Fairfax "can no longer serve as the lieutenant governor of Virginia". The memo states the firm has retained outside counsel to conduct an investigation and that Fairfax "has agreed to cooperate with the firm's investigation". Fairfax, like Northam, said he's not going anywhere. Instead of letting reporters break the news on his history with blackface, the attorney general admitted to it in a statement before anyone broke the story.

"Duke first learned of the allegations involving a student-athlete [Friday] when they were reported by the media".

Democrats had until now stopped short of calling for Mr Fairfax to quit, but the latest allegation opened the floodgates on Friday. And with Republicans barely hanging on to their legislative majority in the Virginia Capitol, Democrats were counting on the same two blocs to propel them to victory in this fall's election of all 140 delegates and state senators.

VA. LT. Gov. removed from DLGA after 2nd assault accuser comes forward