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Second woman accuses Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault



A second woman came forward Friday to allege that she was sexually assaulted by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

Meredith Watson alleged in a Friday statement released through an attorney that Fairfax raped her when they were both students at Duke University in 2000 in a “premeditated and aggressive” attack.

Watson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said they are in possession of emails, Facebook messages, and statements from classmates all confirming that Watson discussed the alleged attack with friends immediately after they say it occurred, and in the following years.

The statement said Watson was “reluctantly” coming forward after being “upset” by allegations against Fairfax made by political science professor Vanessa Tyson. Tyson alleged in a statement released Wednesday that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Watson’s lawyers said in the statement that Tyson’s allegations were similar to Watson’s alleged experience.

After Watson’s allegation became public, former Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and House of Delegates member Lee Carter called on Fairfax to resign.

In a statement given to Katherine Faulders of ABC News on Friday, Fairfax’s office demanded an official investigation into the accusations, which he described as “unsubstantiated” and part of a “vicious and coordinated smear campaign” against him, and said he would not resign.

“I will clear my good name and have nothing to hide,” the statement said. “I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before.”

Fairfax has also vehemently denied Tyson’s allegations, calling them a “totally fabricated story out of the blue” and threatening legal action against those leveling accusations.

Watson’s lawyers said she is coming forward with her allegations “out of a strong sense of civic duty and belief that those seeking in public office should be of the highest character.”

“She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has affected her life,” the statement continued. “Similarly she is not seeking any financial damages. We have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office.”

The latest allegation against Lt. Gov Fairfax is another chapter in a tumultuous week in Virginia politics, as Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring are both declining to resign after admitting to wearing blackface in the 1980s.

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