02/04/2019 03:26 pm ET
RICHMOND, Va. ― Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) vehemently denied a sexual assault allegation against him that resurfaced late Sunday, arguing it was timed to derail his potential ascent to the governorship.
“This allegation is completely false,” Fairfax said at an impromptu press conference in the Capitol rotunda on Monday afternoon.
“I’ll be 40 years old next month. I have lived 40 years accusation-free. And there’s a reason for that,” he said. “And there’s also a reason, at the moment when people … think that there’s a possibility I might be elevated to the governorship ― it’s at that point that they come out with the attacks and the smears.”
The woman accusing Fairfax of sexual assault has claimed he forced her to perform oral sex during an encounter that began consensually at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax maintains the encounter was entirely consensual and has threatened legal action to protect his reputation against a claim he called “defamatory.”
At Monday’s press conference, he also said the woman accusing him called him months after the encounter in question to try to meet up with her and meet her mother. When pressed for evidence of her subsequent communication, Fairfax said he did not have any because it had happened over the phone.
Fairfax has become the subject of national attention in recent days as pressure mounts on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to resign. Virtually every Democratic elected official in the state has withdrawn support for Northam after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page emerged Friday. Northam initially said he appeared in the photo, which shows a man in blackface standing with another man in a Ku Klux Klan uniform, but he subsequently recanted. At a Saturday press conference, Northam nonetheless admitted to another instance of wearing blackface.
Fairfax, the second black statewide elected official in Virginia’s history, would succeed Northam if the governor resigned. (Fairfax has not called on Northam to resign; he declined to do so again at Monday’s press conference.)