Virginia Dem Backs Off From Impeaching Lt. Gov. over Sex Assault Allegations

Frederick Owens
February 11, 2019

The Virginia Democratic Party has called on Fairfax to resign, and one Democratic Virginia legislator says he will introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax if a resolution on the issue is not reached this week.

Northam made the comments on CBS' "Face the Nation", saying it's been a hard week since a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced, showing a person wearing blackface next to a second person wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northam had later acknowledged he wore blackface at a separate event in the 1980s, dressing up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest. But he said he's in a position to lead and that "Virginia needs someone that can heal". There's no better person to do that than a doctor. "Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage, and who has a moral compass, and that's why I'm not going anywhere".

"And the main point that this person told me is that at the end of the day, the white person - just as I was the white person that dressed up as an African-American dancer - at the end of the day we can take that makeup off and go back to being white", but a black person continues to live in that skin and all that it represents.

Mr. Samirah, a dentist, is running against Republican Greg Nelson and independent candidate Connie Haines Hutchinson in what will be the Democrats' first test since the scandals began to pile up.

Most of Virginia's Democratic Congressional delegation and prominent national Democrats, including 2020 presidential candidates, called for the governor to resign after the racist photograph surfaced.

Political considerations will be key to what comes next.

The disgrace tarnishing the top elected officials could sour voters on Democrats in an election year in which every General Assembly seat is up for grabs, likely helping Republicans hold on to a thin majority.

Fairfax has said that encounters with both women were consensual. A California woman has accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her 15 years ago, saying in a statement Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, that she repressed the memory for years but came forward in part because of the possibility that Fairfax could succeed a scandal-mired governor.

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Watson's legal team released an email exchange between her and a former Duke classmate from October 2016, in which Watson responds to an invitation to a fundraiser for Fairfax by saying, "Justin raped me in college and I don't want to hear anything about him".

He's also calling for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.

"Ms. Watson stands ready, although it will be painful, to tell the Virginia Legislature what Mr. Fairfax did to her when she was 20 years old", Nancy Erika Smith, Ms. Watson's lawyer, said in a statement.

The moment came after Northam said he contemplated resigning, but believes he can take the Commonwealth "to the next level" if he remains in office.

"Virginia needs someone that can heal".

The dean of Virginia's Democratic congressional delegation requested immediate investigations of the women's allegations against Fairfax.

"I don't have any excuses for what I did in my early life", he said. "Post-Donald Trump, I think what elected officials are willing to do has changed in some ways".

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