RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox and Democratic Minority Leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn spoke with the media on Thursday at the state Capitol to address the ongoing calls for an investigation from the General Assembly into the allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.
Speaker Cox told reporters that he wants to hold a formal investigation and he’s been trying to get bipartisan support for it. Cox said he attempted to speak to Democratic caucus leaders to find a solution.
“I approached them with a concept, that I asked them for a yes or no answer on. And the concept basically was a resolution that would go through Rules [Committee],” House Speaker Cox said. “It would be a sub-committee of the Courts of Justice Committee. Five Democrats, five Republicans, that would then, obviously, have witnesses, listen to testimony, particularly, hear Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson, and I asked them if they would join with me in that process.”
The Republican leader said that he had been asking for multiple days for a response from Democrats, in an effort to keep the process bipartisan.
“We’re now literally two and half days before the end of the session,” speaker Cox said, “and uh, basically I think they’ve given me every excuse in the world, basically never answering the question and so, unfortunately, I came to the conclusion that they were no,” Cox said of Virginia’s Democrats.
Minority leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax), who spoke with reporters at the Capitol after Cox, denied the claim made by Republicans and said Cox is playing “political games.”
“We communicated with them [Republicans] last week, for the first time about this,” Del. Filler-Corn said. “We approached them, wanting to work in a bipartisan manner. They said they would get back to us with details and ideas and specifics about what they were talking about. They were unable to provide us with any details.”
“We then met with them again yesterday, and the day before, they have been unable to this, at this point, to share any specifics with us and any details.”
Del. Filler-Corn said Democrats aren’t aware yet of what they are allowed to do, in terms of an investigation, and don’t want to impede a possible criminal investigation.
Lt. Gov. Fairfax’s office released a statement on Thursday in response to the remarks made by speaker Cox and Del. Filler-Corn:
“The Lieutenant Governor has remained steadfast in denying the allegations against him. He has repeatedly made clear his desire for a full, fair, independent, impartial, and non-political investigation. He was the first and remains the only party to these matters to call for such an investigation in order to get to the truth.
It would be extraordinary and unprecedented to initiate a General Assembly inquiry about matters that are better left to law enforcement.
The Lieutenant Governor remains confident that the truth will prevail and that he will be exonerated.”
-office of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax
WATCH: Va. lawmakers speak at the Capitol amid calls for the General Assembly to conduct an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. FairfaxStay with 8News for updates to this developing story.