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Virginia delegate plans to introduce articles of impeachment unless Fairfax resigns

Virginia House of Delegates Member Patrick Hope (D) announced Friday he intends to introduce articles of impeachment for Justin Fairfax unless the Democratic lieutenant governor resigns by Monday following new allegations of sexual assault.

“On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then,” Hope tweeted.

Hope issued the declaration hours after a second woman came forward on Friday to publicly accuse Fairfax of sexual assault.

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

Vanessa Tyson was the first woman to accuse Fairfax of misconduct earlier this week, saying the lieutenant governor 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 denied both allegations. He issued a statement Friday claiming they were part of “a vicious and coordinated smear campaign” and vowing, “I will not resign.” 

Watson’s allegations have opened the floodgate to a host of calls for the lieutenant governor’s ouster from members of his own party.

"We believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson. We found her account compelling and highly credible. The central issue at the heart of her account is consent, and there can be no better authority to decide whether it was given than Dr. Tyson herself," several Virginia Democratic lawmakers said in a statement Friday night.

"Meredith Watson's statement describes another extremely disturbing incident, which lends further credence to Dr. Tyson's story,” Virginia Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerDemocrats hesitant to raise taxes amid pandemic What I learned in 19 weeks of working with progressive Democrats The Memo: Ohio Dem says many in party 'can't understand' working-class concerns MORE, Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaChamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Luria holds onto Virginia House seat MORE, Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonActing chief acknowledges police were unprepared for mob Six ways to visualize a divided America Wexton, Speier call for revamp of clearance process to screen for extremist views MORE and Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump teases on 2024 run Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission MORE added in the joint statement

“Given recent developments, I believe that it is best for the Commonwealth of Virginia if Justin Fairfax dealt with these accusations as a private citizen. He can no longer serve us as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia,” Rep. Donald McEachinAston (Donale) Donald McEachinLawmakers commemorate one-year anniversary of Arbery's killing Lobbying world Lawmakers share New Year's messages: 'Cheers to brighter days ahead' MORE (D-Va.) tweeted.

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