Lt Governor Justin Fairfax, 39, has denied that he assaulted a woman in 2004 at a Democratic political convention.

We are also mindful of the fact that this allegation and the release of troubling depictions concerning Governor Ralph Northam all come from the pages of an ultra-conservative web page.

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Justin Fairfax

 

Lt Governor Justin Fairfax, 39, has denied that he assaulted a woman in 2004 at a Democratic political convention.  Fairfax was taking office for the Lt. Governor position when the story emerged. At the time the Washington Post investigated the allegations and opted not to publish a story on the subject. When the issue was brought up again over the weekend, Fairfax claimed that the Post did not release the story because the paper found severe problems with the original accusation including “significant red flags.”

The Washington Post pushed back stating, “The Post did not find ‘significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations,’ as the Fairfax statement incorrectly said,” the Washington Post said in a story published Monday, sharply disputing the lieutenant governor’s statement.

“The allegation against Fairfax, a Democrat, first surfaced on the website Big League Politics, the same right-wing political blog that published the now-infamous yearbook photo showing someone in blackface and someone in a KKK costume on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page. Fairfax has vehemently denied the accusation,” Fox News reported.

In a pre-dawn denial on Monday, Fairfax tweeted a statement saying he “has never assaulted anyone—ever.

In its Monday story, the Washington Post acknowledged investigating the claims and deciding not to publish. But it said the Fairfax statement “incorrectly” claimed the paper found “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations.”

The BBC  reported that Fairfax released a statement stating that the  “uncorroborated smear” was meant to derail his career. “Only now, at a time of intense media attention surrounding Virginia politics, has this false claim been raised again. The statement added that Mr. Fairfax would “take appropriate legal action” regarding “this defamatory and false allegation.”

OUR FREE OPINION

Rape is often a hard crime to defend against especially where the allegations are old,  and the alleged victim’s claims contain sparse and incomplete details. Mr. Fairfax deserves the presumption of innocence (borrowing from criminal law parlance) and is entitled to due process of law. We should not rush to immediate judgment. We are also mindful of the fact that this allegation and the release of troubling depictions concerning Governor Ralph Northam all come from the pages of an ultra-conservative webpage. Their words and depictions should not be taken at face value.

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