Fairfax’s accuser gives detailed account of claims
by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/07/19, 12:39 pm
The woman who accuses Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 went public with her side of the story on Wednesday. Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., released a detailed, graphic statement describing the alleged assault at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. She said the incident “began as consensual kissing” but turned into a forced sex act in Fairfax’s hotel room, where the two of them had gone to retrieve documents. Fairfax, a Democrat, has denied the charges, calling them an “uncorroborated smear” and saying the encounter was consensual.
Tyson has hired Katz, Marshall & Banks, the same legal team that represented Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and a friend sexually assaulted her when they were in high school. Fairfax has retained Wilkinson Walsh Eskovitz, the law firm that represented Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
Fairfax is next in line for the governorship if Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat, resigns over racist photos from his 1984 medical school yearbook that surfaced on Friday. Attorney General Mark Herring, who is third in line for the governorship and a Democrat, is also under fire after admitting Wednesday that he wore blackface while in college. The fourth person in line, Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican, would become governor only if the three positions ahead of him in the line of succession were vacant at the same time.
National and state Democrats have called for Northam to resign but have largely remained silent on whether they still support Fairfax. U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., who defeated two-term Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock in the 2018 midterm elections, became the first federal lawmaker to speak out about the lieutenant governor, tweeting Wednesday, “I believe Vanessa Tyson.”
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Harvest is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a reporter for WORLD.