Virginia: second woman accuses lieutenant governor of sexual assault

Blackface

Virginia Blackface Scandal Ensnares Top State Republican

Watson said Fairfax's attack was "premeditated and aggressive", and calls for the Lt. Governor to resign.

"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", said her attorney, Nancy Erika Smith in a statement Friday.

Patrick Hope, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, said on Friday that he had begun drafting the articles of impeachment against Fairfax, and that he plans to introduce them on Monday. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe were among the first.

Donald Trump predicted the turmoil in Virginia over racially offensive behaviour and alleged sexual assault would help flip the state back into the Republican column in 2020.

"Despite all of the distractions from the continuing controversies involving our statewide elected officials, I am intent on fulfilling the work of the people of Virginia by passing a fiscally responsible budget that provides tax relief for working families", Norment said.

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Democrats have until now focused their resignation calls on Governor Ralph Northam.

"This is the second serious sexual assault allegation leveled against the Lieutenant Governor in the past week", Wilson said.

Gov. Justin Fairfax denied the second allegation of sexual misconduct levied against him Friday evening, and also announced that he has no intention of resigning. He admitted to once having worn blackface that year to impersonate pop star Michael Jackson.

Democrats in Richmond and in Washington say the next moves may largely depend on what black state legislative leaders push for.

Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly: If all three Democrats resign, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor.

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Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott has told United States media that Prof Tyson had over a year ago told him some details about the alleged assault.

Watson says she doesn't want any money from Fairfax - she just wants him to resign.

Mr Fairfax has insisted his encounter with Prof Tyson was "100% consensual".

Northam immediately apologized for appearing in the photograph, saying he could not "undo the harm my behavior caused then and today".

Norment has received comparatively little political blowback so far on the racist photos, especially from Democrats, who are consumed by the scandals engulfing their top three statewide officerholders. The state's attorney general, who is after Fairfax in the line of succession for the governorship, has also admitted to wearing blackface when he was 19.

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The improbable scenario of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general being forced to resign en masse has raised the prospect of the Democrats losing the governorship to a Republican without an election.

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