REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
- Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying allegations of sexual assault.
- Fairfax spoke to reporters on Monday calling the accusations a "totally fabricated story out of the blue" and called the encounter with the woman "100% consensual."
- Fairfax would become governor if embattled Gov. Ralph Northam resigns following the resurfacing of a racist photo in Northam’s medical school yearbook, where he is allegedly either dressed in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan hood.
- The Washington Post was initially looking into the allegations in 2017, but they could not find witnesses to corroborate either side of the story, so the paper did not run the story.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying allegations of sexual assault.
"Lt. Governor Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect," his communications director said a statement published to Twitter early Monday morning. "He has never assaulted anyone — ever — in any way, shape or form."
Fairfax later spoke to reporters calling the accusations a "totally fabricated story out of the blue" and called the encounter with the woman "100% consensual."
"We reiterate that this allegation is false," a spokeswoman said in a statement to INSIDER. "At no time has the Lt. Governor assaulted anyone at any time or at any place.
"As a father, husband, and public servant, he knows that sexual assault is a very serious matter and survivors of assault deserve to be heard," the statement continued.
Fairfax would become governor if embattled Gov. Ralph Northam resigns following the resurfacing of a racist photo in Northam’s medical school yearbook, where he is allegedly either dressed in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan-style costume.
Northam initially said in a statement on Friday that he was in the photo, though he could not recall which one he was. However, at a press conference on Saturday he claimed he was not in the photo, though he did acknowledge that he wore blackface while dressed up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest in 1984.
Fairfax, 39, would become the youngest governor and the only current African-American governor.
The allegations against Fairfax were published by the conservative website Big League Politics — the same site that first published the photo from Northam’s medical school yearbook.
The Washington Post was initially looking into the allegations in 2017, but the newspaper could not find sources to corroborate either side of the story, so the paper did not run the piece.
The woman’s account, which Fairfax denies, resurfaced in a private Facebook post, and one of her friends gave it to Big League Politics. The woman, who Big League Politics identifies but The Post and CNN do not, does not directly name Fairfax in her Facebook post.
An email to the woman was not answered, as she is on sabbatical, and the woman via her lawyer had not yet responded to The Post’s request for comment.
She claims that the encounter happened in a hotel room in Boston during the 2004 Democratic convention, The Post reported. However, The Post could not verify either account, and in phone calls with Fairfax associates from college, law school, and elsewhere found no other accounts, so the paper did not run the piece.
Fairfax’s team seized on the fact that The Post could not corroborate the woman’s allegation, initially saying that the paper found "significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations."
The Post responded calling that categorization inaccurate.
"Lt. Gov. Fairfax is a public official who may well rise to the position of governor," Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said in a statement published by The Post. "He began the morning by issuing a statement regarding allegations against him, making specific representations about Post reporting that had not resulted in publication. We then had an obligation to clarify the nature of both the allegations and our reporting."
During his press conference on Monday Fairfax said, "I have lived my life in a way that I am proud of," continuing that he has "never had anything like this said about me."
- Meet Justin Fairfax, who is poised to become Virginia’s governor if Ralph Northam resigns
- Republicans urge Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after racist photo from 1984 surfaces
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam admits he appeared in 1984 yearbook photo featuring ‘racist and offensive’ blackface costume
Source: Business Insider