Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of Virginia Denounces Sexual Assault Allegation as a ‘Smear’ – The New York Times

The Fairfax aides said The Washington Post had investigated the allegation around the time of the lieutenant governor’s inauguration in January 2018 and had chosen not to publish a story.

The Post story Monday partially disputed the Fairfax statement. According to the story, the woman contacted the newspaper after Mr. Fairfax won election in November 2017 and alleged that he had sexually assaulted her in 2004.

The Post was unable to corroborate her allegations, which Mr. Fairfax had denied, according to Monday’s story. The Post, however, disputed the Fairfax statement’s assertion that the newspaper had found inconsistencies and red flags in the woman’s allegation; the newspaper labeled those assertions as incorrect.

Fairfax aides then chose to issue a second statement on Monday afternoon, this time accusing The Post of having “smeared” Mr. Fairfax by publishing its Monday story detailing the allegations without corroboration. The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, replied that Mr. Fairfax had gone first in “issuing a statement regarding allegations against him, making specific representations about Post reporting,” and that the paper had an obligation to clarify the nature of allegations and its reporting.

As Mr. Northam held meetings Monday, first with his cabinet and then with his staff in the state Capitol complex, stunned legislators arrived to word of the middle-of-the-night statement by the Fairfax aides after the publication of the story by a right-wing website, Big League Politics.

Arriving at the state Capitol for the General Assembly’s weekly session on Monday, House Speaker Kirk Cox told reporters he did not want to pursue impeachment against Mr. Northam, saying that he hoped the governor would quit of his own volition. And Mr. Cox acknowledged that he was unsure if Mr. Northam’s conduct met the threshold for impeachment.

After Mr. Fairfax, the second in line to become governor is the state attorney general, Mark Herring, a Democrat who had already indicated plans to run for governor in 2021.

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