The Latest: Accuser willing to testify to Virginia lawmakers




 

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Latest on fallout from scandals roiling Virginia's top officials (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

Attorneys for a woman who has accused Virginia's embattled lieutenant governor of sexual assault say their client is "prepared to testify at impeachment proceedings and to cooperate with law enforcement in any investigation."

Attorneys Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks released the statement Saturday night on behalf of Vanessa Tyson, a California college professor, who said Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at a Boston hotel in 2004.

A second woman, Meredith Watson, has accused Fairfax of rape in 2000. An attorney for Watson says her client also is willing to testify in front of the state legislature if an impeachment hearing takes place.

Fairfax has denied the allegations, said he does not intend to immediately resign and called for the FBI and other authorities to investigate.

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9:45 p.m.

The attorney for a woman who accuses Virginia's lieutenant governor of rape in 2000 says her client is willing to testify in front of the state legislature if an impeachment hearing takes place.

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith released the statement Saturday night on behalf of Meredith Watson after Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax denied the allegation and called for the FBI and other authorities to investigate.

Fairfax says the encounter was consensual. The two were students at Duke University at the time.

Smith says Watson will provide investigators at least two witnesses who she told about the alleged assault the day after it occurred.

Fairfax has faced numerous resignation calls since Watson levied her allegation Friday.

A California professor earlier accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004. Fairfax has denied wrongdoing.

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6:35 p.m.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is reaffirming his decision to not resign after two women came forward with accusations of sexual assault.

Fairfax issued a statement Saturday again denying the allegations and saying his encounters with the women were consensual. He made clear he is not immediately resigning and called for "space in this moment for due process."

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

Many elected officials and presidential hopefuls have called for Fairfax to resign after two women went public with allegations of sexual assault this week.

Until a week ago, Fairfax was a fast-rising star in the Democratic Party and is only the second African-American to ever hold statewide office.

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.

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1:05 p.m.

Virginia's embattled governor says he wants to spend the remaining three years of his term pursuing racial "equity."

Gov. Ralph Northam told The Washington Post on Saturday that there is a higher reason for the "horrific" reckoning over a racist photograph that appeared in his medical school yearbook.

The 59-year-old Democrat gave his first interview to the newspaper since the photograph surfaced. The image shows a man in blackface beside someone in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Northam denies being in the photo. He has admitted to wearing blackface at a 1984 dance party.

Northam has ignored widespread calls to resign. He said his experience puts him in a good position to explore the issue of "white privilege" and to pursue an agenda of racial reconciliation.

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11:40 p.m.

The Democratic Party of Virginia is calling for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign.

Party chairwoman Susan Swecker issued a statement Saturday saying Fairfax can't serve effectively because two women this week made credible allegations of sexual assault.

The party joins a long list of elected officials and presidential hopefuls who have already called for Fairfax to resign.

Fairfax has emphatically denied both allegations and said he won't step down.

Until a week ago, Fairfax was a fast-rising star in the Democratic Party. He is only the second African-American to ever hold statewide office in Virginia.

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 .

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11:05 a.m.

Virginia's governor has made his first official public appearance since he denied appearing in a racist yearbook photo and admitted to wearing blackface.

Gov. Ralph Northam was in attendance at Saturday's funeral for a state trooper killed in a shootout. Northam was not listed as a speaker in the funeral program.

The service in the town of Chilhowie for Lucas B. Dowell was four hours west of the political tumult in Richmond.

Northam has ignored calls to resign for the past week after a racist photo surfaced from his medical school yearbook. He also admitted to wearing blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is facing calls to resign after two women accused him of sexual assault. He has vehemently denied the allegations.

Attorney General Mark Herring also faces heavy criticism after he admitted to wearing blackface in college.

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The head of Virginia's House of Delegates is calling for the resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox said in a statement Saturday that Fairfax's ability to govern has been "permanently impaired" by "multiple, serious credible allegations" of sexual assault made recently by two women.

Earlier this week, a college professor accused Fairfax of assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. A second woman came forward on Friday, accusing Fairfax of rape. Fairfax has emphatically denied both allegations and said he won't resign.

The Republican Cox is third in line should Gov. Ralph Northam resign over a racist yearbook photo that surfaced last week. Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring - who is also embroiled in a racist controversy - are ahead of Cox.

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