Virginia’s lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax isn’t done fighting back against the sexual assault allegations against him. He is now suing CBS for defamation.
According to Deadline, he filed a $400 million defamation lawsuit against the network because of an interview Gayle King conducted on “CBS This Morning” conducted with Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson. The lawsuit says CBS “recklessly disregarded whether what Watson and Tyson were saying was, in fact, true” and that Fairfax “filed this lawsuit so that he can fight these allegations in a court of law, with the protections of due process, and on a level playing field.”
CBS News responded to the lawsuit with, “We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit.”
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.
Back in February, CBS local affiliate in Virginia reported that Virginia House Democrats said in a statement, “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.