Northam Says Blackface Photo Scandal Has Been An 'Awakening For Virginia'

Northam accompanied by his wife Pamela Northam announces he will not resign during a news conference in Richmond Virginia
Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax denies second accusation of sexual assault

11 February, 2019

Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax calls on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to open a probe into the sexual assault allegations against him.

Fairfax claimed that he had a consensual encounter with the first woman to accuse him-Vanessa Tyson, now a fellow at Stanford-who said he forced her to perform oral sex on him while they were working at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Fairfax has denied the allegations.

Fairfax was previously considered as a top replacement for Governor Ralph Northam when past racist photos in his medical school yearbook came to light earlier this month.

"And if these accusations are determined to be true, I don't think he's going to have any other option but to resign", Northam said.

He told King that despite the calls for him to step down, "I'm not going anywhere".

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.

In the interview, which is set to air Monday on "CBS This Morning", Northam also speaks out about two other lawmakers embroiled in scandals: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring.

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The woman who made the new accusation, Meredith Watson, was "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", the law firm that is representing her said in a statement. I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations.

The lawyers said Watson told friends of the alleged rape in emails and Facebook messages she sent in 2016 and 2017 - notes that the lawyers included as screenshots with their statement. I want to stand here in that truth and restate that my truth, as well as the truth of Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson, should be fully investigated and thoroughly assessed.

Black Virginians overwhelmingly think Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam should remain in office despite the recent scandal over one of his 1984 medical school yearbook photos showing two people dressed in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan outfit. He said: 'It's obvious from what happened this week that we still have a lot of work to do. "There are still some very deep wounds in Virginia, and especially in the area of equity", he said.

It's been a pretty bad couple of weeks for Democrats in Virginia. In a poll conducted late last week by The Washington Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, respondents were evenly divided as to whether Northam should resign. "That really helped put things in perspective for me to better understand why someone of white privilege has the opportunities that they have when an African-American. doesn't", he said.

If Northam steps down, Fairfax is next to line to become governor.

As the crisis widened by midweek, Democratic leaders, and black members of the Virginia legislature appeared willing to give both Fairfax and Herring the benefit of the doubt for the time being-in Herring's case, because he apologized personally for wearing blackface.

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