Lt. Gov. Fairfax claims political rivals helped release initial sexual assault allegation

Virginia Politics
Justin Fairfax_633666

In this Thursday Oct. 5, 2017 photo Democrat Justin Fairfax gestures during a debate with Republican Virginia State Sen. Jill Vogel, right, at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor, and Vogel, a state senator from Fauquier County, are running for lieutenant governor in next month’s election. The post that […]

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In an amended civil lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax claimed that political rivals, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, were involved in the release of sexual assault allegations made by one of his accusers in order to “derail his political future” ahead of a possible run for governor in 2021.

Fairfax filed a $400 million defamation suit against CBS last month claiming the network’s interviews with Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, the two women accusing Fairfax of sexual assault, inflicted emotional distress and “promoted false statements.”

Fairfax told 8News on Thursday that the accusations made by Dr. Tyson were a “political hit job” involving Stoney.

The complaint reiterates the claim that CBS had knowledge that the allegations against Fairfax were not true before and after the interviews aired. The lawsuit reads, in part:

“The Amended Complaint demonstrates that CBS had access to information both before and after publication indicating that the suspiciously-timed accusations made against Fairfax were false, but instead decided to burnish its #MeToo credentials in light of recent, high-profile sexual assault and harassment accusations against key figures at CBS. It is clear that CBS found, and continues to find, its agenda more important than reporting the truth.”

The amended complaint also alleges that the mayor, a former aide of Stoney, Thad Williamson, and Williamson’s wife, Adria Scharf, were involved in Dr. Tyson’s decision to release her accusations against Fairfax.

Lauren Burke, Fairfax’s spokesperson, said Thursday that the lawsuit shows that Stoney, Williamson and Scharf coordinated with Dr. Tyson to release her allegations in the wake of Gov. Ralph Northam’s blackface photo scandal.

“The Amended Complaint exposes the behind-the-scenes coordination between Fairfax’s political rivals, namely Richmond, Virginia, Mayor Levar Stoney’s former aide Thad Williamson, Williamson’s wife Adria Scharf, and Vanessa Tyson, who claimed Fairfax had assaulted her fifteen years ago,” Burke said in a statement following the release of the amended lawsuit. “These allegations reveal that these political foes of Fairfax desperately attempted to stop him from ascending to the Governorship of Virginia in the immediate aftermath of a photo scandal that led to calls for the resignation of Governor Ralph Northam beginning on February 1, 2019.”

“As evidenced on page 18 of the Amended Complaint,” Burked continued, “Scharf rushed a long-standing plan to use Tyson to damage Fairfax politically by sending Tyson a message on February 3, 2019 at 1:05 PM that stated, ‘Northam may be forced to resign tomorrow. Thad and I think your story should get out to the local press TODAY, rather than later.’”

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Stoney told 8News that the mayor was “absolutely not” aware of the alleged correspondence in February between Ms. Scharf and Dr. Tyson.

Dr. Tyson’s lawyers and CBS News did not immediately respond to 8News’ request for comment. 8News also reached out to Ms. Watson’s attorneys on Thursday but have yet to hear back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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