Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) called on Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-VA) to step down after a second accusation of sexual assault was leveled against him.
“The multiple detailed allegations against the Lt. Gov. of Virginia are deeply troubling,” Booker wrote on Twitter Friday evening. “They are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign.”
The multiple detailed allegations against the Lt. Gov. of Virginia are deeply troubling. They are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 8, 2019
On Friday afternoon, a second woman came forward to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault. The accuser, Meredith Watson, said in a statement Friday that the attack took place when she and Fairfax were students at Duke University in 2000. “At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character,” Nancy Erika Smith, Watson’s lawyer, said. “She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.”
In addition to Booker, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) called on Fairfax (D-VA) to step aside, saying he should exit his post immediately.
“The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible,” McAuliffe said. “It is clear to me that he can no longer effectively serve the people of Virginia as Lieutenant Governor. I call for his immediate resignation.”
Fairfax responded to Watson in a written statement, saying “I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever.”
The new accusation further clouds the fate of Virginia’s government. Fairfax would take over if Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) were to resign over the racist photo that appeared on his medical school yearbook page. Northam told his top staff Friday that he would not resign. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) admitted putting on blackface in college.
Earlier this week, California college professor Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 during the Democratic National Convention. Fairfax called the allegation a political smear.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.