- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2019

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax on Monday strongly denied a “defamatory and false allegation” of sexual assault that surfaced over the weekend as Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam faces calls for his resignation over a racist photo from his medical school yearbook.

Big League Politics, the right-wing website that was the first to expose Mr. Northam’s photo on Friday, posted a report Sunday that said a professor at Scripps College alleged she was sexually assaulted at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Big League Politics suggested the person the woman was talking about was Mr. Fairfax, though she made no such admission publicly.

In Monday’s statement, Mr. Fairfax’s office acknowledged the lieutenant governor was already aware of the allegation and claimed that the same woman unsuccessfully tried to bring the “false” story to The Washington Post.

“The Post carefully investigated the claim for several months,” the Democrat’s office said in a statement. “After being presented with facts consistent with the Lt. Governor’s denial of the allegation, the absence of any evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation, the Post made the considered decision not to publish the story.

“Tellingly, not one other reputable media outlet has seen fit to air this false claim. Only now, at a time of intense media attention surrounding Virginia politics, has this false claim been raised again,” the statement continued. “The Lt. Governor will take appropriate legal action against those attempting to spread this defamatory and false allegation.

Mr. Fairfax would become Virginia’s new governor if Mr. Northam caves to growing calls by his own party to resign. Mr. Northam initially apologized, then denied being part of a racist photo showing two men, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, which was included on his personal yearbook page in 1984.

The Post denied parts of Mr. Fairfax’s statement later Monday, saying it “did not find ‘significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,’ as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said.”

“Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present. The Washington Post could not find anyone who could corroborate either version,” the newspaper said. “The Washington Post, in phone calls to people who knew Fairfax from college, law school and through political circles, found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman’s account — in part because she had not told anyone what happened — The Washington Post did not run a story.”

The Post said the alleged victim first reached out to them just before Mr. Fairfax’s January 2018 inauguration. The woman alleged that Mr. Fairfax forced oral sex on her in a hotel room during the 2004 Democratic national convention in Boston.

Mr. Fairfax has denied her account through his attorneys and described the encounter as consensual, The Post reported. The woman did not provide any further comment for The Post’s Monday story.

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