Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Friday called on Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-VA) to resign immediately after a second woman came forward with a sexual assault allegation against him.
“The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible,” McAuliffe tweeted. “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.”
The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible. 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.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) February 8, 2019
Earlier Friday, a second woman came forward to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault. The woman, Meredith Watson, said in a statement Friday that the attack took place when she and Fairfax were students at Duke University in 2000. According to Watson, while she and Fairfax were friends at the school, the two had not dated or been intimate before the alleged incident. “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,” Watson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said Friday. “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.”
Fairfax denied the latest allegation and vowed to remain in his post. “I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever,” he said.
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. Attorney General Mark Herring (D-VA), who is second in line of succession, admitted on Wednesday to wearing blackface when he was a 19-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Virginia.
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 in 2004. Fairfax called the allegation a political smear, hinting that it may have derived from Northam’s camp to prevent his ouster.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.