Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope (D) warned Friday evening that he will introduce articles of impeachment against Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) unless he resigns by Monday as a second allegation of sexual assault surfaced.
“On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then.,” Hope said in a statement shared to social media.
A second woman, Meredith Watson, has come forward to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault, alleging in a statement Friday that the attack took place when she and Fairfax were Duke University classmates in 2000. The allegation comes after California college professor Dr. Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax on Wednesday of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 during the Democrat National Convention.
Contenders for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination have begun to issue calls for the lieutenant governor of Virginia to resign. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) were first among the expanding field to call for Fairfax’s resignation. Booker posted on Twitter that “the multiple detailed allegations against the Lt. Gov. of Virginia are deeply troubling” and called on Fairfax to leave office.
Gillibrand called details of the second woman’s claims “sickening and horrendous” and also called on Fairfax to step down, continuing:
This new allegation from Meredith Watson that Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax raped her, corroborated by at least two named individuals in interviews and emails, is sickening and horrendous. I believe Meredith Watson and Dr. Tyson, and it was extremely brave for them to come forward. Mr. Fairfax should resign and no longer serve the Commonwealth of Virginia
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) also called on Fairfax to step aside, urging for the embattled Virginia Democrat to do so right away.
Fairfax has vehemently denied the allegations and has called for an investigation into the claims. “The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible,” said McAuliffe. “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 new accusation further clouds the fate of Virginia’s government. Fairfax would take over if Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) 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), who is second in line of succession, admitted to putting on blackface in college.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.