Vanessa Tyson, Meredith Watson say they are willing to testify in Fairfax impeachment hearing
The two women accusing Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of rape said Saturday that they are ready to testify at an impeachment hearing.
Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson both said they wanted to publicly face Mr. Fairfax’s and refute his claims that the sex was consensual.
The separate statements issued by their separate lawyers were released within hours of each other.
Mr. Fairfax, under intense pressure to resign over the rape allegations, including from his own Virginia Democratic Party, has vowed to fight to clear his name.
Earlier, he said that he wanted a FBI investigation into the women’s allegations.
At least one Democratic state House member has said he will introduce articles of impeachment Monday.
The rape accusations added to a political maelstrom for Virginia’s Democratic leaders, with revelations that Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring wore blackface in the 1980s.
Mr. Northam also is facing unrelenting calls to step down.
The women accusing Mr. Fairfax said his denials and assaults on their character only made them more determined to force him from public office.
“Lt. Governor Fairfax’s assertion that these sexual assaults were consensual, while simultaneously trying both on and off the record to discredit the victims, says all you need to know about his lack of fitness to serve in public office,” Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks, lawyers for Ms. Tyson, said.
Nancy Erika Smith, Ms. Watson’s lawyer, said Mr. Fairfax’s request of an FBI probe was a ruse.
“He knows as a former Prosecutor, that the FBI has no jurisdiction over this matter. Indeed, my client may contact North Carolina authorities about a possible criminal prosecution,” she said.
“For real due process, not hidden from the public, we invite Mr. Fairfax to join Ms. Watson and her witnesses in testifying at an impeachment hearing. 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,” said Ms. Smith.
Ms. Tyson alleged that Mr. Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him when they met as campaign aides at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
Ms. Watson said she suffered a similar attack in 2000 when they were students at Duke University.
Mr. Fairfax previously acknowledged having sex with Ms. Tyson but said it was consensual. In a statement Saturday, he for the first time acknowledged having sex with Ms. Watson and said that too was a consensual encounter.
“I say this again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson or anyone else,” he said. “The one thing I want to make abundantly clear is that in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual.”
Mr. Fairfax has said he is the victim of a political “smear” since Ms. Tyson first came forward Monday.
“This has been a devastating week for my family. It has been an especially devastating time for the great Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said in the statement Saturday.