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Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax denies second accusation of sexual assault

Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax denies second accusation of sexual assault

Meredith Watson, a classmate of Fairfax's at Duke University, claims that he assaulted her in college in 2000 in an "attack [that] was premeditated and aggressive".

Beyer also said he believes the two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault.

Rep. Don Beyer told CBS he's also sticking by his call for Northam to resign, noting that almost 40 percent of black Virginians said in a new Washington Post poll he should leave the governor's mansion. Because it doesn't. To the contrary, every time Northam talks to a reporter, there's a serious risk - if not likelihood - that he'll say something false, absurd, assinine, tone-deaf, clueless and/or racially insensitive (at the minimum).

Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two US senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.

"I know he wants to rehabilitate his reputation and even his sense of what he called his moral compass", Democratic Representative Don Beyer of Virginia said in a separate interview on "Face the Nation".

He has since denied he was in the picture but admits to wearing blackface at another college party.

Two women have accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault, and he has emphatically denied both allegations. "We learn from our mistakes and I'm a stronger person", Northam said.

Northam is said to have argued that in medical school he found using his right hand so awkward he had to force himself to hold the scalpel with it.

'I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that'.

"I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide", he wrote, branding the allegations as part of a "vicious and co-ordinated smear campaign ... being orchestrated against me".

Northam, a Democrat, has refused calls to step down after an old medial school yearbook photo showing a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit surfaced a week ago.

The statement said that the alleged previous rape had occurred during her sophomore year by an unnamed Duke men's basketball player, and that Watson had told Fairfax about it.

He called on "all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI", to investigate the claims. There are still some very deep wounds in Virginia, and especially in the area of equity.

In light of the controversy, Northam said he asked his cabinet secretaries to begin reporting suggestions Monday on how to tackle issues of inequality such as expanding access to health care, housing and transportation.

Even so, a poll conducted February 6-8 for the Washington Post found residents split over Northam's fate, with 47 percent wanting him to step down and an equal number saying he should stay on.

It's been a pretty bad couple of weeks for Democrats in Virginia. To make this more of a joke, Northam has been assigned reading about the case for reparations, among other things, as he prepares to retool his agenda to highlight race and equality.

Now, both the lieutenant governor and governor of Virginia are facing mounting pressure from their party, Sabato says, as the future of the Democratic Party in 2020 hangs in the balance.


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