Virginia Lt. Gov. Fairfax files $400 million defamation suit against CBS

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) on Thursday filed a $400 million defamation lawsuit against CBS Corp. and CBS Broadcasting in New York, accusing the organization of publishing false statements from two women who accused him of sexual assault.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Virginia's Eastern District, came in response to CBS interviews with the accusers the network conducted in February.


"Fairfax brings this action to restore his reputation and clear his name, ensure the truth prevails, stop the weaponization of false allegations of sexual assault against him, and vindicate his rights under civil law," the lawsuit says.

Fairfax has denied the accusations made by Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson. Tyson says Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Watson, who said Fairfax raped her while they attended Duke University, came forward in an interview with CBS's Gayle KingGayle KingWoman who accused Black teen of stealing her phone charged with attempted assault CBS News President Zirinsky wins National Press Club Fourth Estate Award The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down MORE.

The women went public with their accusations after many called on Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign after a photo from his medical school yearbook page resurfaced showing people in blackface. If Northam had resigned, Fairfax would have become governor. 

"We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit," CBS News said in a statement to The Hill.

— This report was updated at 11:37 a.m.