Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Justin Fairfax dodges impeachment process, calls for 'independent investigation' of rape claims

Justin Fairfax dodges impeachment process, calls for 'independent investigation' of rape claims

Ralph Northam refuses to resign despite growing backlash over a picture on his medical school yearbook page featuring a man wearing blackface and another person in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

For instance, see below for video of Northam talking to CBS' Gayle King, and recounting how Virginia's "now at the 400-year anniversary - just 90 miles from here in 1619 - the first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores".

The calls for Fairfax to resign come as Virginia's Democratic governor and attorney general are embroiled in scandals involving the past use of blackface.

If all three men resign, House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, would be next in line for the governorship. A lawyer for another woman accusing Fairfax of sexual assault, Meredith Watson, said in a statement that Fairfax raped Watson in 2000 when they were students at Duke University, calling the alleged attack "premeditated and aggressive".

Top Democrats, including a number of presidential hopefuls and most of Virginia's congressional delegation, swiftly and decisively turned against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who stands to become the state's second black governor if Northam quits.

Inside, he faced fellow Democrats who have called for his resignation after two women accused him of rape.

Party leaders in the state and across the nation have now called for Governor Ralph Northam and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax over their separate accusations.

A Virginia lawmaker is backing off plans to file impeachment papers against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who has been accused by two women of sexual assault, saying "additional conversations" are needed first.

Fairfax denies ever sexually assaulting anyone.

In response to the allegation, Fairfax in his Saturday statement said: "I heard from Dr. Tyson after the 2004 Convention, and she never said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort".

Other congressional Democrats made unqualified calls for Fairfax to resign.

"During a recent event at Fort Monroe, I spoke about the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia and referred to them in my remarks as enslaved", he said in a statement provided to CNN.

Northam, who said he had dressed in blackface in a different instance than the one documented in the yearbook, has also resisted calls to step down.

"Also known as slavery", King said, gently interrupting him.

Fairfax has denied the allegations and said he does not intend to immediately resign. Northam said in a press conference a week ago, though, that he'd once darkened his skin to take part in a Michael Jackson dance competition.

Northam responds, "Yes. While we have made a lot of progress in Virginia - slavery has ended, schools have been desegregated, we have ended the Jim Crow laws, easier access to voting - it is abundantly clear that we still have a lot of work to do", Northam told King.

Northam, now a year into his four-year term, announced his intention to stay at an afternoon Cabinet meeting, according to a senior official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

It's unclear who the people in the picture are, but the rest of the page is filled with pictures of Northam and lists his undergraduate alma mater and other information about him.

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