The two women accusing Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault want the Virginia General Assembly to hold hearings so they can publicly air out their claims much in the same way a hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh played out last year when he faced allegations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process.
A statement from Meredith Watson’s laywer was released Monday evening as Fairfax, a Democrat, refuses to resign and has called for “due process for everyone involved” after Watson and California professor Vanessa Tyson came out in recent days to accuse him of sexual misconduct.
The statement comes hours after Democratic state Del. Patrick Hope balked at a threat to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax if he did not resign by Monday, saying he changed his mind after speaking with the members of the Democratic caucus and now wants more conversations to take place before he files anything.
[Also read: Democratic nightmare as Kavanaugh script flipped in Virginia, engulfing party in scandal: News Analysis]
“It turns out that Mr. Fairfax does not want due process; he wants to assault the character of his victims in secret, not in public, and certainly not under oath,” Watson’s attorney Nancy Erika Smith said in a statement. “Meredith Watson asks the Virginia Legislature to hold hearings, regardless of what they are called, and to reject a secret and delayed proceeding.”
“Both victims of his sexual assault have agreed to testify and they will produce witnesses and documents to show their honesty and good character,” Smith said. “Please do not allow these women to be further victimized by delay and defamation.”
Smith released a statement Friday asserting Fairfax raped Watson in 2000 when the two were students at Duke University.
That came after Tyson, a political science professor at Scripps College and visiting fellow at Stanford University, accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 at a Democratic convention in Boston. Tyson said the encounter was initially consensual, but Fairfax ultimately forced her to perform oral sex on him against her will.
Fairfax has denied both accusations, saying both encounters were entirely consensual and has requested an investigation into the matter.
The controversy swirling around Fairfax is playing out as two other top Democratic officials in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, are mired in separate blackface scandals.