Democratic Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is now asking for an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him according to the Washington Post. Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault by two women.
Fairfax insists that his encounters with the two women who have accused him were consensual, while members of his own party are now calling upon him to resign.
Just before midnight, Fairfax released a statement calling for “all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me,” according to the Post.
In the statement Fairfax wrote:
“This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia.”
“The one thing I want to make abundantly clear is that in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual.”
“I am asking that no one rush to judgment and I am asking for there to be space in this moment for due process.”
“As an officer of the court and a former federal prosecutor, I have dedicated my life to the law and due process. Consequently, I call on all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me.
Last week, Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004, saying he “forced her to perform oral sex on him.”
“What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault,” Tyson, a college professor from California, said in a statement.
A second woman, Meredith Watson, came forward on Friday, saying through her lawyer that Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University.
Fairfax has denied the allegations, saying they were part of a “smear campaign” against him, and dismissed calls to resign from both state and national Democrats.
Both women came forward after the possibility arose that Fairfax might become governor due to a blackface scandal surrounding Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.
Northam has also rejected calls to resign after a blackface photo in his medical school yearbook surfaced. Northam says he does not believe he was in the photo, a reversal from his initial comments apologizing for the photo.
Northam said Saturday that he does not plan to resign, and would focus on racial “equity” for the remainder of his term.
Later Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who would become governor if both Northam and Fairfax stepped down, admitted to wearing blackface once in college.
Last night was the first time Fairfax had asked a specific law enforcement agency to investigate claims against him. Until then he had been insisting that an independent inquiry would clear him of the charges.
Right now the Democratic Party of Virginia is in turmoil, and it is not clear how the situation will be resolved. Republicans have been celebrating the turmoil, and are hoping this will allow them to take Virginia out of the “blue state” column, but that remains to be seen.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.