Virginia lieutenant governor’s accuser retains law firm that represented Kavanaugh accuser – POLITICO

Justin Fairfax

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has defended himself in part by pointing out that the woman took her accusation to The Washington Post before his inauguration last year and that the newspaper, after looking into the claims, did not publish them. | AP Photo/Steve Helber


Legal

The woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault has retained the Washington law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her when the two were in high school.

A source close to the legal team for Fairfax’s accuser confirmed Tuesday that she has hired Katz, Marshall and Banks, a law firm that lists sexual harassment law as one of its areas of expertise. The source said the woman is consulting with her legal team about next steps and that her team will have more to say later Tuesday.

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The allegation against Fairfax stems from a sexual encounter in a Boston hotel room in 2004 that both parties have acknowledged took place. It first surfaced Sunday on the right-wing website Big League Politics in the form of a cryptic Facebook post by the woman.

Fairfax has fiercely denied the accusations, insisting that the encounter was consensual and calling the allegation an “uncorroborated smear.” He’s also questioned the timing of the accusation and who is pushing it because his profile has risen dramatically in recent days amid the controversy surrounding a medical-school yearbook photo, also published by Big League Politics, that appears to show Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam either in blackface or wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.

Northam has denied that he is in the photo, but has admitted to wearing blackface as part of a Michael Jackson costume at a 1984 talent show. The controversy has prompted widespread calls for Northam’s resignation, a step that would elevate Fairfax to the governorship.

Like Fairfax, Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations against him when they surfaced last fall amid his Senate confirmation process. Ford, a California professor, wound up testifying about her allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as did Kavanaugh.

Fairfax has defended himself in part by pointing out that the woman took her accusation to The Washington Post before his inauguration last year and that the newspaper, after looking into the claims, did not publish them.

The Post on Monday acknowledged investigating the woman’s claims as Fairfax said, but said he “incorrectly” stated they found “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations.”

Instead, the Post found that “Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present.” The newspaper said it “could not find anyone who could corroborate either version.”

In an article published Monday detailing the woman’s account, the Post also said it “found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against” Fairfax and that the woman had not told anyone about the alleged assault until shortly before she came forward in November 2017 and January 2018. As a result, they initially declined to publish the woman’s account until Monday.

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