WASHINGTON — Further roiling Richmond after a week of scandal, lawyers alleged Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax raped a classmate at Duke University in 2000.
The law firm representing the lieutenant governor's accuser sent a letter detailing the allegations to Virginia state lawmakers, further plunging the capital into chaos.
"We serve as counsel for Meredith Watson, who was raped by Justin Fairfax in 2000," the letter begins. "Mr. Fairfax’s attack was premeditated and aggressive. The two were friends, but never dated or had any romantic relationship."
Fairfax vehemently denied the claim, and said he will not resign.
"I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation," Fairfax said in a statement Friday. "It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever."
"I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth. I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide."
Fairfax ended his statement detailing how he passed two full FBI background checks, after running for Virginia attorney general and lieutenant governor.
He called Friday's stunning developments a "vicious and coordinated smear campaign" orchestrated against him.
Va. Del. Patrick Hope tweet out on Friday that he would be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he does not resign before Monday.
“I’m the father of three girls, and two women have come forward, credible women telling credible stories," he told WUSA9's Mike Valerio. "They have no motivation to lie, and it’s just not acceptable.”
“It’s like getting punched in the gut. I mean, it really is, because, you have a lot of faith in your leaders. And it really is, really is painful," said Hope.
When asked what he would say to anyone who says the Lt. Gov. is innocent until proven guilty, hope said, "That’s the standard in a criminal proceeding. It is not the standard for an elected official. For an elected official, I don’t expect two women. Two totally different women to come forward with different situations, making these accusations against anyone.”
This is the second woman to accuse Fairfax of sexual misconduct in a week of searing scandal. Stanford University fellow Dr. Vanessa Tyson publicly detailed allegations of sexual assault against Fairfax earlier in the week.
Tyson said in a statement that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex while they were staffers at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax also denied the allegation, as lawmakers in Virginia and Washington called for a full investigation.
Lawyers for Fairfax's second accuser said she would not be making a public statement in the view of cameras, leaving the written statement as the only comment for the near future.
"At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character,” her attorneys said.
“She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.”
The title of the letter makes Ms. Watson's views clear, headed in bold with the statement, "Request for Resignation of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax."
Fairfax is Virginia's second-highest ranking elected official, and has resisted repeated calls to step down in the wake of gender and racial reckoning in Richmond.