Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is now facing more trouble.
Fairfax was accused of sexual assault by Dr. Vanessa Tyson, the incident allegedly occurring in 2004 at the Democratic national convention.
Then a second woman came forward, Meredith Watson, who says that Fairfax raped her when they were students at Duke University in 2000.
And now a state delegate, Patrick Hope has said that he intends to introduce impeachment proceedings against Fairfax on Monday if Fairfax hasn’t resigned by then.
From USA Today:
Del. Patrick Hope said the state constitution “states very clearly that impeachment should be for high crimes and misdemeanors. There is no question that violent sexual assault clearly qualifies as high crime.”
Fairfax reaffirmed his innocence and his intention to remain in office on Saturday. He called for “space in this moment for due process” and for an FBI investigation. The FBI declined to comment.
Fairfax’s statement came hours after the state Democratic Party joined the chorus of calls for his resignation. Chair Susan Swecker said that in light of the “credible nature” of the latest claims against Fairfax, “it has become clear that he can no longer fulfill the duties and responsibilities of his post.”
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus has also called for Fairfax to step down.
Both women accusers have also said through their attorneys that they would be willing to testify in any impeachment proceeding against Fairfax.
Fairfax has called for an FBI investigation. But since there is no federal crime, they would have no jurisdiction, as Fairfax would know. So the call seems hollow at best and trying to present a false picture to the public at worst.
But lawmakers are already faced with the blackface/KKK scandal of Governor Ralph Northam and the AG Mark Herring admitting that he too wore blackface in the 80s. So how they will approach an impeachment proceeding with Fairfax is not clear.
While rape would fit the qualification of a “high crime” for impeachment, blackface would be more of a question in terms of fitting the statute.
Northam is refusing to resign and he says he’s going to work on racial equality for the rest of his term. “This has been a real, I think, an awakening for Virginia. It has really raised the level of awareness for racial issues in Virginia. And so we’re ready to learn from our mistakes.”
He gave an interview to CBS to try to rehab his image. There will be highlights of it on “Face the Nation.”