Fairfax claims polygraph tests clear him of sexual assault allegations

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The office of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax says he took two polygraph tests that clears him of the sexual assault allegations made by two women in February. 

The news comes a day before an interview with Fairfax’s accusers, Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, is set to air on ‘CBS This Morning’ on Monday and Tuesday. It’s the first TV interview for both women since coming forward. 

In the statement, Fairfax’s office maintains his innocence, stating “that a serious, fair, and impartial investigation and examination of the facts would demonstrate that these allegations are false and that he engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever.”

Fairfax denied the sexual assault allegations when news broke in the midst of a trying month in Virginia politics that saw Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring embroiled in a blackface scandal. 

Some community leaders and politicians insisted all three resign. 

The embattled Lt. Governor remained in office, however, addressing the scandals surrounding him and comparing the way he’s been treated to political lynching, saying people were rushing to judgment before the sexual assault allegations were investigated.

“If we allow for political lynchings without any due process, any facts, any evidence being heard, then I think we do a disservice to this body in which we all serve,” Fairfax said late February on the final day of the legislative session.

“Knowing that he was telling the truth, Lt. Governor Fairfax voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination by a leading polygraph expert, Jeremiah Hanafin,” Sunday’s statement read. “Mr. Hanafin is a retired FBI polygraph expert who was previously chosen by Dr. Vanessa Tyson’s attorney, Ms. Debra Katz, to perform a polygraph examination of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford relating to Dr. Ford’s allegations against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.”

RELATED: Fairfax addresses ‘false and unsubstantiated’ sexual misconduct allegation

According to the release, Fairfax underwent two separate polygraph tests – one regarding Dr. Tyson’s allegations and another for Ms. Watson’s claims –  that in part focused on the sexual nature of the alleged assaults. 

Hanafin asked Fairfax: “Did you engage in any non-consensual sexual activity with Vanessa Tyson?” Fairfax answered “no.”

Hanafin also asked: “Did you engage in any non-consensual sexual activity with Meredith Watson?,” Fairfax, again, answered “no.” 

The polygraph examination showed that “no” was the truthful answer each time, according to the release. 

“Lt. Governor Fairfax passed both examinations,” the statement continued. 

Fairfax’s attorney, Barry J. Pollack, believes the results exonerate his client, stating “all serious allegations deserve to be taken seriously, but not all allegations are true. The public has a right to know if serious allegations made against the Lt. Governor are true, but the public also has a right to know if they are false.”

Read the full statement from the Office of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax below:

From the moment that Dr. Vanessa Tyson and then Ms. Meredith Watson first made accusations that Lt. Governor Fairfax had committed sexual assault decades ago, Lt. Governor Fairfax has been steadfast in saying that the allegations are extraordinarily serious, deserve to be heard, and should be investigated and taken seriously. Lt. Governor Fairfax has also been steadfast from the start in saying that a serious, fair, and impartial investigation and examination of the facts would demonstrate that these allegations are false and that he engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever.

Knowing that he was telling the truth, Lt. Governor Fairfax voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination by a leading polygraph expert, Jeremiah Hanafin. Mr. Hanafin is a retired FBI polygraph expert who was previously chosen by Dr. Vanessa Tyson’s attorney, Ms. Debra Katz, to perform a polygraph examination of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford relating to Dr. Ford’s allegations against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Mr. Hanafin did not just give Lt. Governor Fairfax one polygraph examination. He administered two different polygraph examinations to the Lt. Governor – one relating to the allegations made by Vanessa Tyson and one related to the allegations made by Meredith Watson. Lt. Governor Fairfax passed both examinations.  

When asked: “Did you engage in any non-consensual sexual activity with Vanessa Tyson?,” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered “no.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.

When asked: “Did you engage in any non-consensual sexual activity with Meredith Watson?,” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered “no.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.

The polygraph examinations also demonstrated that Lt. Governor Fairfax was telling the truth when he denied specific allegations that have been made by Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson.

Dr. Tyson has stated that while she was with Lt. Governor Fairfax in his hotel room at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, she was crying, in obvious distress. Yet, when asked during a polygraph examination, “Was Vanessa Tyson crying at any time while she was in your hotel room?,” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered, “no.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.

Dr. Tyson has also stated that she “consciously avoided Mr. Fairfax for the remainder of the Convention and I never spoke to him again.” Yet, when asked during a polygraph examination, “After leaving Boston, did Vanessa contact you and suggest visiting you and meeting her mother?,” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered, “yes.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.

Similarly, in the second polygraph examination, Lt. Governor Fairfax was asked about specific allegations made by Meredith Watson. Ms. Watson has stated that her sexual liaison with Lt. Governor Fairfax in 2000, while they were both students at Duke University, was “premeditated rape.” In fact, their interaction was completely consensual. When asked during a polygraph examination, “Did Meredith Watson give you any physical or verbal indication she did not want to have sexual contact with you?,” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered, “no.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.  

Ms. Watson has also claimed that Corey Maggette, who was at the time a basketball player at Duke, also raped her while she was a student at Duke. Mr. Maggette has completely and categorically denied that allegation. Ms. Watson has claimed that when she saw Lt. Governor Fairfax on one occasion after she says Lt. Governor Fairfax raped her, she asked him, “Why did you do it?,” implying that Mr. Fairfax had had sex with her against her will. According to Ms. Watson, Lt. Governor Fairfax responded, “I knew that because of what happened to you last year [referencing the supposed rape committed against her by Mr. Maggette], you’d be too afraid to say anything.” In fact, no such conversation between Ms. Watson and Lt. Governor Fairfax ever occurred. When asked during a polygraph examination, “After this incident, did you have a conversation with Meredith Watson where she implied your sexual contact with her was non-consensual?,” 

Lt. Governor Fairfax answered, “no.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.  

Jeremiah Hanafin served as an FBI agent for nearly 25 years during which he was an expert polygraph examiner in the Washington, D.C. Field Office. He performed over 2,500 polygraphs for the FBI. Mr. Hanafin for many years also conducted polygraph examinations for the Fairfax County Police Department. He was hired by Dr. Tyson’s attorney, Ms. Debra Katz, when she was representing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to administer a polygraph examination of Dr. Ford.  

Jeremiah Hanafin was selected by Lt. Governor Fairfax’s attorney, Barry J. Pollack, for the same reason Mr. Hanafin was previously selected by Ms. Katz – Mr. Hanafin is unquestionably one of the country’s foremost expert polygraph examiners.  

Lt. Governor Fairfax hired Mr. Pollack to help ensure that the facts surrounding the allegations that have been made by Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson are determined in a fair, impartial, and unbiased manner. Mr. Pollack, a past president of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, said, “All serious allegations deserve to be taken seriously, but not all allegations are true. The public has a right to know if serious allegations made against the Lt. Governor are true, but the public also has a right to know if they are false.” Lt. Governor Fairfax has repeatedly called for law enforcement to investigate the allegations lodged by Dr. Tyson and Ms. Watson. Mr. Pollack reiterated that Lt. Governor Fairfax will cooperate fully in any law enforcement investigation. “A meaningful, professional factual investigation,” Mr. Pollack said, “would exonerate the Lt. Governor and clear his well-earned good name and reputation.”

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