RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax on Wednesday said he’s willing to testify under oath that he did not sexually assault two women who came forward with allegations in February.
Courtesy of MGN
“It is very important for truth to be established,” he said.
He says he deserves to treated fairly during the process and that national interviews are not the way to get to the truth.
His lawyer has contacted prosecutors in Boston and Durham, North Carolina, where the women say the assaults took place, and have asked them to investigate the allegations, Fairfax said. He said he would cooperate fully with the investigations.
"I knew that the allegations against me were false from the moment I first heard them," he said.
This week, his accusers, Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, conducted interviews on “CBS This Morning” saying that Fairfax’s response has been “disgraceful.”
Fairfax said Wednesday his encounters with Tyson and Watson years ago were consensual.
He also said that there are discrepancies in Tyson’s and Watson’s accounts of what happened.
Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson leveled their accusations against Fairfax in February. Tyson says Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex in 2004. Watson says Fairfax raped her in 2000 when both were students at Duke University.
Fairfax released his report of two polygraph tests he took recently that says help prove his innocence.
Fairfax continued his call for an investigation into the allegations by law enforcement.
He said the news media attention has been painful to him and his family.
"Sensationalizing allegations does not make them true. Yet airing salacious allegations without evidence does enormous damage," Fairfax said.
He says he’ll cooperate fully with prosecutors in Boston and North Carolina where the women say the assaults occurred.
Both women have indicated a desire to testify before state lawmakers, who could impeach Fairfax. Republican lawmakers said they are willing to hold a hearing, but Democrats have balked, saying the allegations should be investigated by law enforcement.
Republican Majority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert said both women made compelling appearances during their CBS interviews and deserved a forum to share their stories with the General Assembly.
"If anybody who watched that wasn't moved by it, then I would say their heart isn't in the right place," Gilbert said.
A former prosecutor, Gilbert said he does not believe a legislative hearing would impede any criminal investigation.
There's been no indication there exists any ongoing law enforcement investigations.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts declined to comment on the status of any sexual assaults investigations in general, or the Fairfax matter in particular. Officials in North Carolina did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fairfax said he is confident law enforcement personnel will reach the same conclusions as the polygraph test he released, conducted by a former FBI agent that said Fairfax did not appear to lie when he answered questions about whether he'd assaulted Tyson and Watson.
Gilbert scoffed at the polygraph test, saying it did not clear Fairfax's name and numerous criminals have successfully duped such tests in the past.
"Ted Bundy passed a polygraph," Gilbert said.
The accusations made against Fairfax were part of a series of scandals in early February that upended Virginia politics.
The women leveled their allegations against Fairfax at a moment when he seemed poised to ascend to the governor's post. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was facing numerous calls to resign after a racist photo showing a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume was found on his medical school yearbook page.
Then, the next in line after Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring, acknowledged he appeared in a photo wearing blackface as a student at the University of Virginia, and the prospect of all three statewide officeholders leaving and handing power to Republicans cooled demands for their resignations. Northam, Fairfax and Herring, all Democrats, have remained in office and at the head of their party ahead of November elections in which Democrats hope to gain control of the General Assembly.
Associated Press writer Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia, contributed to this report.