Staff Members Resign After Fairfax Allegations

Two of his three state staffers resigned as well the director and the fundraiser of his political action committee

Embattled Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has lost several staff members after two women accused him of sexual assault and much of the state's political establishment called for him to resign.

Two of his three state staffers resigned as well the director and the fundraiser of his political action committee. Their departures were first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Fairfax spokesman Lauren Burke said in a statement that the Democratic lieutenant governor "wishes them well."

The duties of Virginia's lieutenant governor are largely ceremonial and part-time, but the office is often a springboard for a gubernatorial run.

Two women came forward last week with allegations that Fairfax sexually assaulted them, prompting widespread calls for his resignation. Fairfax has denied the allegations and said he won't step down.

Amid the calls for resignation, some lawmakers are calling for a fair hearing for Fairfax on the allegations against him.

Meanwhile, clamor for the resignation of Virginia's governor seemed to die down Monday, with some black community leaders forgiving Gov. Ralph Northam over a photo of a person wearing blackface that appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

Over the past several days, practically the entire Democratic establishment rose up to demand fellow Democrats Northam and Fairfax immediately step down. But the tone changed markedly after the weekend.

A Democratic state lawmaker who had threatened to begin impeachment proceedings on Monday morning against Fairfax, Virginia's highest-ranking black politician, set the idea aside after running into resistance.

"Fairfax said he wanted 'due process.' Impeachment hearings would have provided just that," an attorney representing Meredith Watson said in a statement Monday. Watson alleges that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000.

"Meredith Watson asks the Virginia Legislature to hold hearings, regardless of what they are called, and to reject a secret and delayed proceeding," read the statement.

Both Watson and Dr. Vanessa Tyson, who alleges that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at a Boston hotel in 2004, have said they are willing to testify.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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