Virginia’s lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax is fighting back against the sexual assault investigations against him. Despite his accusers not requesting a criminal investigation into their claims and never pressing charges, Fairfax and his team are asking for a criminal investigation as he maintains his innocence.
It was a risky move that could backfire depending on investigators’ findings.
Fairfax endorsed a criminal investigation back in April but according to CNN he formally made the request via his lawyers, to the district attorneys’ offices in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, and Durham County, North Carolina.
“An objective and thorough investigation of that allegation should be conducted, and the results reported to the public,” the letter read in part. “Just as no serious crime should go unprosecuted; no innocent person should have his reputation tarnished by a false accusation.”
He also would like to testify under oath and wants his accusers to do the same.
In January, Meredith Watson publicly accused Fairfax of raping her when they were in college together nearly two decades ago. She alleged the incident took play while they were students at Duke University in 2000, according to a report from the Washington Post. Watson’s claim came less than a week after Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax forced her to give him oral sex during the summer of 2004.
Watson also claimed former NBA player and Fox Sports analyst Corey Maggette, who played at Duke for one year from 1998 to 1999, raped her, too.
At that time, Watson’s lawyer told the Post that her client only wants Fairfax to resign. That echoed the sentiments of Tyson, who said she only went public after she saw Fairfax was on the verge of being elevated to governor when it was discovered that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has racist images on his medical school yearbook page.
Fairfax denied both Tyson’s and Watson’s claims. Maggette has also denied Watson’s accusations.
There were calls to impeach Fairfax by Virginia House Democrats, those calls ended by February.
According to a CBS local affiliate in Virginia, Virginia House Democrats said in a statement today, “Ms. Watson & Dr. Tyson are courageous in coming forward to tell their stories. We respect all survivors and believe they should be fully heard. The allegations they have made against Lt. Gov. Fairfax are criminal in nature and we are treating them with the seriousness they deserve.”
Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) was the first to call for Fairfax’s impeachment on Feb. 8. But two days later he said, “There has been an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback which has led to additional conversations that need to take place before anything is filed. We owe it to all parties involved — especially the victims — to make sure that we have thought through every option the General Assembly has. That’s what these conversations are for — so we can build more consensus on a path forward.”
CBS also reports, “After a draft of the articles circulated among lawmakers, members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said the move was too extreme, without providing Fairfax enough time to defend himself.”
In April, Fairfax passed a lie detector test by Jeremiah Hanafin who also administered a polygraph test last year to Christine Blasey Ford who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.