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 SpanbergerWith Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE, Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaAbortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats Group aligned with House GOP leadership targeting nine Democrats on spending vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Rising prices undercut Biden agenda MORE, Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Rising prices undercut Biden agenda Virginia emerging as ground zero in battle for House majority Republicans look to education as winning issue after Virginia successes MORE and Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHouse Democrats miss chance to help McAuliffe Progressives see infrastructure vote next week Dem hopes for infrastructure vote hit brick wall 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 McEachinA holistic approach to climate equity Nearly 200 House Democrats call for focus on clean energy tax credits in reconciliation End the practice of hitting children in public schools 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.