State Watch

Booker, Gillibrand, Warren call on Fairfax to resign after rape allegation


Democratic presidential hopefuls are calling on Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) to resign after a second woman came forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for Fairfax to step down on Friday, hours after a woman accused him of raping her. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined the calls later in the evening.

“The allegations by Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson are corroborated, painful stories of sexual assault and rape. It’s clear Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax should resign his office,” Harris tweeted.

Lawyers for Meredith Watson released a statement Friday saying Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University, adding that the alleged attack was “premeditated and aggressive.”

{mosads}Fairfax denied the allegation in a statement Friday evening, claiming it was part of “a vicious and coordinated smear campaign” and vowing not to resign.

“I have never forced myself on anyone ever,” he said in the statement reported by Fox 5 DC. He called for a “full investigation” into the allegations to clear his name.

Vanessa Tyson was the first woman to accuse Fairfax of misconduct earlier this week, saying he sexually assaulted her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

“What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault,” Tyson, a college professor from California, said in a statement Wednesday. “Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him.”

Fairfax has admitted the two had a sexual encounter at the time, but says it was consensual.

While Democratic politicians had at first been hesitant to weigh in on the scandal, others joined Booker on Friday in calling for Fairfax’s ouster after Watson’s account became public.

The scandal surrounding Fairfax comes as another embroils Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) over the use of blackface decades ago.

Updated: 8:50 p.m.

Tags Cory Booker Elizabeth Warren Gerry Connolly Kirsten Gillibrand Mazie Hirono

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