Four members of Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax’s crew have resigned days after the politician was accused of a second sexual assault.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, two staffers from Fairfax’s workplace on the state capitol and two staffers who labored for his political motion committee resigned on Friday after a former classmate from Duke University, Meredith Watson, accused Fairfax of rape.
The resignations have been Fairfax’s coverage director Adele McClure and scheduling director Julia Billingsly and, from the lieutenant governor’s We Rise Together PAC, Dave Mills and Courtney McCargo. Mills served as the chief director for We Rise Together whereas McCargo was a fundraiser for the PAC.
“The lieutenant governor appreciates the amazing service of his former staff members. Their work and dedication was incredible. He certainly wishes them well and appreciates their service to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Fairfax’s spokesperson, Lauren Burke mentioned in an emailed assertion to the Washington Post.
Burke additionally informed the Post through telephone that Fairfax’s workplace solely included 4 staffers. Lieutenant governor is a part-time place, Fairfax additionally works as a associate at Morrison & Foerster however has been positioned on depart whereas the legislation agency conducts its personal investigation into the sexual assault allegations.
“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously,” Larren Nashelsky, the agency’s chairman mentioned in a press release issued on Friday. “As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity.”
Fairfax’s chief of workers Lawrence Roberts, together with Burke, stay on workers on the lieutenant governor’s workplace. Roberts informed the Post that the stress of the final two weeks is taking its toll on workers. He added that the departures have been unrelated to Fairfax’s “performance or abilities.”
“The pressure of constant incoming press, political and calls — our phones ring every five seconds and just trying to clear your voicemail is impossible,” Roberts mentioned.
Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax presides over the Senate on the Virginia State Capitol, February 7, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia state politics are in a state of upheaval, with Governor Ralph Northam and State Attorney General Mark Herring each admitting to previous makes use of of blackface and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax accused of sexual misconduct. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
On Sunday night time, Fairfax spoke through telephone with the Post and mentioned that he wouldn’t resign from the submit of lieutenant governor.
“Even in the most difficult times, including ones like these, that’s when it’s most important to adhere to our highest values as Americans,” Fairfax informed the Post. “And due process is at the heart of our constitutional democracy in order to get to the truth and be true to what we are as Americans. . . . Everyone deserves to be heard. . . . Even when faced with those allegations, I am still standing up for everyone’s right to be heard. But I’m also standing up for due process.”
Fairfax additionally mentioned that he’s centered on persevering with his job as lieutenant governor and “getting the truth out” concerning the sexual assault allegations from Watson and the primary accuser, Vanessa Tyson, a California professor who mentioned Fairfax pressured her to carry out oral intercourse on him after they met on the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
“I didn’t sexually assault Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anybody else, and the reality will assist to verify that assertion. And we’re wanting ahead to those unbiased investigations to get on the reality,” Fairfax informed the Post.
Meanwhile, Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope mentioned on Monday that he wouldn’t instantly proceed with submitting articles of impeachment towards Fairfax as “further conversations” have been wanted earlier than a decision for impeachment might transfer ahead, the Times-Dispatch reports.
“We should permit the victims to be heard in probably the most truthful and simply course of potential. Any course of should be open and clear to the general public. If we are able to come behind one other course of moreover impeachment that can meet these objectives, I will likely be supportive,” Hope informed the Times-Dispatch.
Both Watson and Tyson, through statements from their legal professionals, mentioned they’d testify earlier than Virginia’s General Assembly.