Staffers working for Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax (D-VA) have quit after a second allegation of sexual assault surfaced against the embattled Virginia Democrat on Friday evening, according to a report.
Two out of three staffers have resigned from Fairfax’s office, while two people employed by his political action committee — We Rise Together — have left.
Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:
The PAC employees who left are Dave Mills, who was the executive director of We Rise Together, and Courtney McCargo, a fundraiser for the PAC.
Mills is the husband of state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, who is considered a strong contender to replace Fairfax as lieutenant governor should Fairfax resign.
On the government side, Adele McClure, the policy director, resigned, as did Julia Billingsly, the scheduling director.
The development came after reports that Fairfax was placed on leave from his law firm after it retained outside counsel to investigate the allegations against the embattled lieutenant governor.“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously,” Larren Nashelsky, chairman of Morrison & Foerster chairman, said in a statement. “As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity.”
Fairfax faces a flurry of calls from top Democrats and Republicans to leave his post after two allegations of sexual assault were leveled against him last week. In a statement through her attorneys, Fairfax’s first accuser, California professor Dr. Vanessa Tyson, alleged last Wednesday that the Virginia Democrat forced her to perform oral sex on him during the 2004 Democrat National Convention. Meredith Watson, the second woman, accused Fairfax last Friday of raping her in 2000 while they were classmates at Duke University.
Fairfax on Saturday vehemently denied the allegations and urged the FBI to investigate the claims. He vowed to remain in his post, asking Virginians for “space in this moment for due process.”
“This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said. “I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else. Our American values don’t just work when it’s convenient — they must be applied at the most difficult of times.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) refuses to resign after a racist photo in his 1984 medical year emerged, which shows two men wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan attire. Another top Virginia Democrat, Attorney General Mark Herring, is also fighting for his political life after admitting he wore blackface while an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia.