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June 26, 2019

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax requests criminal investigations into sexual assault allegations against him

June 13, 2019
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax addresses the media during a news conference in his office at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Fairfax addressed sexual misconduct allegations made by two women against him and presented the results of a polygraph test. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Steve Helber/AP)

Virginia’s lieutenant governor is calling on prosecutors in Massachusetts and North Carolina to open criminal investigations into sexual assault allegations raised against him earlier this year.

An attorney for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Barry J. Pollack, in letters sent to the Suffolk County and Durham County district attorney offices on Wednesday demanded accusations made by Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson be “promptly and fully” probed.

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“If an investigation were to determine the allegation is true, it should be criminally prosecuted. Conversely, if an investigation were to determine that the allegation is false, which Lt. Governor Fairfax is confident would be the conclusion of any unbiased and professional investigation, the matter should be closed and the public informed,” according to letters obtained by WWBT-TV.

Tyson, who first connected with Fairfax at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, accused the lieutenant governor of assaulting her shortly after they met. Meredith Watson, a former Duke University classmate, publicly accused Fairfax of rape just days later. He has denied both allegations.

Both women came forward amid a scandal involving Gov. Ralph Northam and a racist photo in his medical school yearbook. Northam was facing calls to resign after apologizing for appearing in the picture, which features one man in black face and another in KKK attire.

The Democratic governor quickly withdrew his apology and remained in office – though Fairfax would have ascended to the governor’s mansion had Northam opted to leave.

Fairfax’s legal counsel said that both Tyson and Watson discussed their accusations in April on CBS this Morning, appearances Pollack argues were “obviously timed to attempt to influence a special session of the Virginia General Assembly.”

Tyson said during the interview she came forward out of fear that Fairfax would become governor amid the series of Virginia scandals.

“The voters of Virginia have a right to know,” she said at the time.

Watson echoed the sentiment.

“You have someone in a position of leadership who had the ability to affect legislation on how these issues will be handled,” she said. “And he, himself is a predator.”

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