Lt. Gov. Fairfax says ‘no’ to possible public hearing on sexual assault allegations

Virginia Politics

FAIRFAX, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) was accused in February of sexually assaulting two different women, Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, before he was elected to public office.

The lieutenant governor addressed the allegations and dismissed ideas of a public hearing as “political circus” in an interview at the Historic Fairfax County Courthouse with 10 On Your Side’s sister station 8News.

When asked about the impact the scandals surrounding him may have on a possible run for governor in 2021, Fairfax again denied any wrongdoing and said he believes people have responded well to how he’s handled himself during the last five months.

“It’s very clear that these allegations are false and this has really been a part of, sort of a very unfortunate smear campaign,” Fairfax said Tuesday. “I appreciate the fact that we have been the ones to call for an investigation, from day one, and for someone facing you have those kinds of unsubstantiated charges to be transparent, say we want the facts to come out, I think it’s something people have responded to very positively.”

Fairfax was called on to resign by fellow Democrats after the allegations were made public and talks of a legislative hearing on the allegations have been brought up his accusers’ lawyers and lawmakers.

Fairfax, who has asked prosecutors in Durham and Boston to open criminal investigations into the allegations, told 8News he would not be willing to take part in a hearing in front of lawmakers.

“Ah no, because again it would be a political circus and again anyone calling for those hearings,” Fairfax said, “if they have not also called for an investigation for the last five months, it tells you a lot about their motivation.”

For months, the lawyers for Fairfax have reached out to state attorneys in Massachusetts and North Carolina to investigate the claims from Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson.

The Virginia Democrat cited two polygraph tests he took that he says further proves he’s innocent.

Speaking out against lawmakers who called on him to resign, Fairfax said there’s no evidence proving the allegations from Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson.

“This is a situation where people rushed to judgement,” Fairfax told 8News.

Two weeks ago, Fairfax’s attorney sent a second letter to prosecutors in Durham, North Carolina, where Ms. Watson says Fairfax raped her at Duke University.

The letter said an eyewitness, Fairfax’s fraternity brother, would testify that “Ms. Watson was a willing participant in the sexual activity.”

When pressed on how the witness was identified and if conversations had taken place about possible testimony, Fairfax shared little with 8News.

“Yeah, well, I can’t really go in to, to all of the details,” he said, “ah, ah, but again, but this witness is a witness as a fact.”

In a previous statement, Watson’s attorney said: “Fairfax continues to fight a public hearing tooth and nail. That says it all.”

“Yeah, I think we have to believe facts and believe evidence. I think that’s critically important,” Fairfax said when asked why Virginians, who may be skeptical, should believe him.

10 On Your Side’s sister station, 8News, reached out to the lawyers of Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson for an interview or comment on Tuesday. A spokesperson for Ms. Watson’s attorney said she would not be available for an interview. Lawyers for Tyson did not respond.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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