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February 10, 2019, 12:38 PM GMT / updated on February 10, 2019, 13:37 GMT
By Phil McCausland and Kalhan Rosenblatt
The two women who are Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault have accused said Saturday that they are willing to testify when the general meeting of the state starts a deposition proceedings against him.
Nancy Erika Smith, a lawyer for Meredith Watson, called for a "fair trial, not hidden from the public," said a statement.
Watson claims she was raped by Fairfax while studying at Duke University in 2000, and Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of forcing her to give oral sex in 2004 while they were both participating in the Democratic Convention in Boston.
Fairfax denies the accusations and says that he will remain in office, and he has called for an FBI investigation into the claims.
Smith said that Fairfax's request for an investigation is inadequate because the FBI normally has no jurisdiction over these kinds of accusations.
"We will have at least two witnesses that Mrs Watson has told about the attack the day after Fairfax raped her," Smith said in the statement. "We will also produce evidence from Mrs. Watson who reveals to others the fact that Fairfax has raped her."
The lawyers of Tyson, Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks said their client would also testify against Fairfax in proceedings for dismissal.
Lt. Governor Fairfax's assertion that these sexual assaults were based on consensus, while at the same time attempting to discredit victims both on and off-the-record, says everything you need to know about his lack of ability to work in a public office. serve, "they said in a statement.
Earlier on Saturday, Virginia Democrats Fairfax opened up after Watson was the second woman to accuse the political rising star of sexual assault, a revelation that followed the two other top Democrats of the party who in their youth admitted to wearing blackface.
On Saturday night, Fairfax issued a statement saying that the past week was "devastating" for not only his family but also the state of Virginia. He reiterated that his earlier encounters with accusers Watson and Vanessa Tyson formed a consensus.
Fairfax claimed that he had spoken with both women after the alleged attacks, and neither indicated that his interactions had caused her "any inconvenience."
"I ask that no one rush to judge and I ask to have room for a fair trial right now," Fairfax said.
But party chairman, Susan Swecker, said accusations of sexual assault had to be taken seriously and because of the credibility of the prosecutors, Fairfax "could no longer meet the duties and responsibilities of its function."
"Although the lieutenant governor deserves a fair trial in this case, it is in the Commonwealth's interest that he go through this process as a private individual," she said in a statement. "The lieutenant governor no longer has our trust or our support, he has to resign."
The Democratic Lieutenant Governors' Association replaced Fairfax as chairman of the organization on Saturday.
Whatever his decision – stay or resign – Fairfax has lost support from state leaders, as well as many Democratic presidential contenders in 2020.
The list includes former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Sens. Cory Booker from New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, Kamala Harris from California and Kristen Gillibrand from New York.
"Lieutenant governor Fairfax has to resign, the accusations against him are particularly horrific crimes and he can no longer serve the Commonwealth effectively," said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. "We can never ignore or tolerate sexual violence."
Virginia Delegate Patrick Hope said Monday that he will introduce articles of deposition against Fairfax if the lieutenant governor has not yet resigned.