RICHMOND, Va. – Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia emphatically denied on Monday a woman’s claim that he was sexually assaulted in 2004, suggesting at one point that Gov. Ralph Northam’s supporters were trying to block his ascent to the governorship. Northam is besieged by demands that he resign over charges of racism
“Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this smear comes out?” Fairfax told reporters around the rotunda of the state Capitol about whether he believes Mr. Northam, a fellow democrat, was the accusation of coming to light.
He softened his suggestion as he left the Capitol Monday night, telling reporters he had “no indication” that Mr. Northam was responsible
But in the same conversation, Mr. Fairfax hinted that Levar Stoney, the mayor of Richmond and a potential rival to Mr. Fairfax for the 2021 Democratic nomination for governor, has played a role – praising the acumen of a reporter who inquired whether Mr. Stoney may have been responsible
|© NY Times|
Asked if he had any involvement in leaking the claims of assault, which first surfaced Sunday night on a right-wing website, Mr. Stoney said, “The insinuation is 100 percent not true, and frankly it’s offensive.”
Just hours after the Washington Post published a story on Monday outlining the woman’s allegation – that Mr. Fairfax assaulted his soon after they met in Boston on the Democratic National Convention – The lieutenant governor said that he and the woman had had a 100 percent consensual sexual encounter.
“We hit it off, she was very interested in me, and so eventually, at one point, we ended up going to my hotel room,” Mr. Fairfax, 39, said, recounting in a measured voice what he said happened 2004.
Mr. Fairfax asserted that the woman had subsequently called him and said she wanted to meet her mother. He said he no documentary evidence of any further conversations after his sexual encounter in 2004, when he was working as the personal aide to John Edwards, then a senator from North Carolina and the Democratic vice-presidential candidate that year.
Asked if he had seen him since the time in his hotel room, he said, “I do not believe so.”
The New York Times has reached out to intermediaries for the women who made the allegation, but they did not immediately comment on