Top Democrats Call For Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax To Resign After Second Sexual Assault Allegation

Several top Democrats, including a handful of candidates for the 2020 presidential primary, have called for Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign. On Friday, a second woman — a former classmate at Duke University — accused Fairfax of rape in 2000.

The first accusation came last weekend, and now a letter sent by the attorney of the second woman — Meredith Watson — states that Watson's story matches correspondence through electronic and social media.

"Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession. Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her," Watson's attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, said in the letter.

Not long after the news of Fairfax's second accuser hit the media, top officials began sending messages through Twitter that Fairfax should step down as Lt. Governor. These include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, all of whom have announced they will run for president in 2020.

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In addition, there are several Democrats in the Virginia state government and one former governor from the Commonwealth who have also called for Fairfax's resignation.

Gillibrand said she believed both women accusers, and called the alleged actions "sickening and horrendous," and called the women "extremely brave" for coming forward. Gillibrand ended by saying "Mr. Fairfax should resign and no longer serve the Commonwealth of Virginia."

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Booker said the allegations against Fairfax "are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign."

Warren said the allegations "make it clear that Lt. Gov Fairfax should resign. My heart goes out to these brave women and their families."

Virginia Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria, Jennifer Wexton and Gerry Connolly issued a joint statement Friday stating they believe the accusers and that Fairfax "cannot continue to serve as Lt. Governor of Virginia, and should step aside."

Only a week ago, Fairfax rose to social media prominence when a racist photo from a 1984 medical school yearbook showed a person wearing blackface and standing to a person in Ku Klux Klan regalia. Many believe current Gov. Ralph Northam is the man wearing blackface in the photo. The call for his resignation and Fairfax's promotion to the governor's seat became chatter, the first rape accusation surfaced two days later.

Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who's also a Democrat presidential candidate in 2020, has called for Fairfax's resignation. Castro also called for the resignation of Northam, which would wipe the slate clean of the two top spots in Virginia's state government.

"Last Friday I called on Gov. Northam to resign immediately. Two days ago I stated that I believe the claim regarding Lt. Governor Fairfax," Castro wrote. "Tonight, I call on both of them to step aside and allow the great state of Virginia to heal and move forward."

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the "allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible," and he can "no longer serve the people of Virginia as Lieutenant Governor."

Fairfax continues to deny accusations, including the latest one by Watson. He released a statement Friday just moments after the second accusation was made public.

"I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever," Fairfax wrote. "I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth. I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide."

Regardless, the Virginia Democratic Caucus is calling upon Fairfax to resign.

"Due to the serious nature of these allegations, we believe Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can no longer fulfill his duties to the Commonwealth," a joint Democratic statement read. "He needs to address this as a private citizen. The time has come for him to step down."

Top Democrats Call For Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax To Resign After Second Sexual Assault Allegation | U.S.