Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax on Sunday appeared headed on a political collision course with a bit of recognized state delegate from his personal occasion who pledged to introduce articles of impeachment Monday if the 39-year-old Democrat refused to resign.
Fairfax is one in all three prime Virginia political leaders engulfed in an ongoing firestorm of scandal. Gov. Ralph Northam and Lawyer Basic Mark Herring, additionally Democrats, admitted to carrying blackface at events within the 1980s, whereas Fairfax confronted extra severe accusations of sexual assault he repeatedly has denied.
Del. Patrick Hope mentioned the state structure “states very clearly that impeachment must be for prime crimes and misdemeanors. There isn’t any query that violent sexual assault clearly qualifies as excessive crime.”
Fairfax reaffirmed his innocence and his intention to stay in workplace on Saturday. He known as for “house on this second for due course of” and for an FBI investigation. The FBI declined to remark.
Fairfax’s assertion got here hours after the state Democratic Celebration joined the refrain of calls for his resignation. Chair Susan Swecker mentioned that in mild of the “credible nature” of the most recent claims in opposition to Fairfax, “it has turn out to be clear that he can now not fulfill the duties and duties of his put up.”
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus has additionally known as for Fairfax to step down.
Fairfax, who would succeed Northam if the governor resigns, was accused final week of sexual assault by a former colleague at the Democratic Nationwide Conference in Boston in 2004. Fairfax strongly denied the fees made by Vanessa Tyson, a political science professor at Scripps Faculty in California.
Attorneys for Fairfax’s second accuser, Meredith Watson, launched a press release days later saying Fairfax raped her whereas they have been college students at Duke College in 2000. Watson additionally mentioned she can be keen to testify at an impeachment listening to.
Regardless of the requires his resignation, solely Hope has pledged to hunt impeachment. Hope is a fifth-term delegate from Arlington, among the many most liberal districts within the state. The well being care lawyer and married father of three mentioned that “as the daddy of three younger women I can’t stand by silently.”
However with simply two weeks left within the legislative session and the governor additionally battling to maintain his job, it was not clear how far Hope’s impeachment push would go.
The accusations in opposition to Fairfax got here to mild days after a photograph of surfaced from Northam’s web page in a 1984 medical faculty yearbook, exhibiting a person in blackface standing by a person wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam at first admitted he was within the picture, then denied it however acknowledged utilizing blackface in impersonating Michael Jackson in a dance contest that very same yr.
Northam has refused widespread requires his resignation. A ballot carried out by the Washington Publish and Schar College of George Mason College present 47 % of Virginians need Northam to resign, whereas one other 47 % imagine he ought to stay in workplace.
In his first interview for the reason that scandal erupted, Northam instructed the Publish Saturday that he had “overreacted” by placing out a press release taking blame for the image. He mentioned that an “impartial investigation” being carried out by Virginia Medical College is aimed toward establishing the details within the case.
He mentioned he needs to focus the remainder of his time period on racial fairness.
‘Horrific week in Virginia’: Gov. Ralph Northam takes on blackface scandal in first interview
“This has been an actual, I feel, an awakening for Virginia,” he instructed the Publish. “It has actually raised the extent of consciousness for racial points in Virginia. And so we’re able to study from our errors.”
Shortly after the primary accusation surfaced in opposition to Fairfax, Lawyer Basic Mark Herring, a 57-year-old Democrat, volunteered that he had appeared in blackface at a celebration on the College of Virginia within the 1980s.
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax may face articles of impeachment Monday