Va. lawmakers say little on potential Fairfax hearing ahead of return to Richmond

Capitol Connection

RICHMOND, Va. — As lawmakers prepare to come back to Richmond Wednesday, sexual assault allegations against one of Virginia’s top Democrats are returning to the spotlight.

On CBS This Morning, Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson gave their first on-camera interviews about incidents with Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax.

The Lt. Gov. has maintained his innocence, as blackface scandals surrounded Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring throughout the month of February. If Gov. Northam had stepped down, Fairfax would be the next in line.

On Sunday, sources with the Lt. Governor’s office confirmed with 8News WRIC that Fairfax took two polygraph tests that clear him of the sexual assault allegations. Fairfax’s office says Dr. Jerry Hanafin conducted the tests.

Dr. Hanafin is a former FBI special agent who also did a polygraph test for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanah of sexual assault last year. He was selected to do the test by Blasey Ford’s attorney, who is the same person representing Dr. Tyson.

When asked if he could confirm whether he conducted the polygraphs and what questions he asked the Lt. Governor, Dr. Hanafin said he could not comment.  

Commenting on the allegations today in Richmond, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) emphasized a need for due process for the Lt. Governor.

“I’ve said for a long time, these are very serious allegations, but at the same time the Lt. Governor deserves some level of due process and the sooner we can have that process the better for all involved,” Sen. Warner said.

Before wrapping up the legislative session, Del. Rob Bell (R-District 58), the chair of the House Courts of Justice Committee, announced House Republicans wanted Tyson, Watson and Fairfax to testify before them. Little details have been released about when those hearings will be and what they will entail.

Virginia lawmakers will return Wednesday to make the final calls on legislation the governor vetoed or made changes to. So far, Gov. Northam has vetoed 17 bills.

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