Lt. -Gov. Justin Fairfax, the state's second-highest elected official, faces the prospect of impeachment proceedings at the hands of another Democrat next week after two women separately accused him of sexual crimes, including rape. Northam initially apologized for the photo then he flipped the script saying it was not him in the picture. He has served Virginia well and he and I and Justin, all three of us have fought for equality.
Virginia's embattled governor insisted he would not resign over a racist yearbook photo, but said the state's lieutenant governor would have to step aside if sexual assault allegations against him were found to be true.
Republicans, including Trump, have predicted the scandal plaguing Virginia's top Democratic officials will give them the opportunity to make political gains in a state that's increasingly voted for Democrats in recent elections.
Before leaving for the service in Chilhowie, a small town in the state's rural southwest corner, Northam doubled down on his determination to stay in office, pledging to promote racial reconciliation in the remaining three years of his term.
Later on Friday, the governor issued a statement to government employees saying, "You have placed your trust in me to lead Virginia forward-and I plan to do that".
The statement said it was a "premeditated and aggressive" assault and that while Watson and Fairfax had been social friends, they were never involved romantically.
Smith says Watson will provide investigators at least two witnesses who she told about the alleged assault the day after it occurred. A public relations firm representing Watson provided The Associated Press with a 2016 email exchange with a female friend and 2017 text exchanges in which Watson said Fairfax had raped her.More news: Turkey building collapse death toll rises to 18
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Fairfax, who is black, has denied both claims and called them a "co-ordinated smear campaign". The two were students at Duke University at the time. Durham police spokesman Wil Glenn also said he couldn't find a report in the department's system on the 2000 allegation. On Friday, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association removed Fairfax from its leadership ranks, naming officials from DE and Washington state in his place.
He called on "all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI", to investigate the claims. Tim Kaine and almost the state's entire Democratic congressional delegation, among others. And these accusations are very, very serious.
"Sexual assault is never acceptable", his statement said.
Now a California college professor, she says Mr Fairfax forced her to perform a sex act on him during the 2004 Democratic political convention in Boston. Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of having Sen.
Northam has been ignoring widespread calls to resign after a photo of a man in blackface standing next to someone in Ku Klux Klan robes surfaced in his 1984 medical school yearbook.
In other news, is Ralph Northam really at the point already where he feels comfortable commenting on OTHER PEOPLES' issues with racist "blackface?"
After staying out of sight since he faced the press on February 2 to deny he was pictured in the racist photo on his yearbook page, but admitting that he had worn blackface on another occasion, Northam, 59, returned to the public eye to attend the funeral of a slain state trooper.