Virginia Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who would succeed Gov. Ralph Northam if he resigns, released a statement Wednesday in response to an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2004. After calling it a "smear" in a Monday press gaggle, Fairfax amended his position, saying, "While this allegation has been both surprising and hurtful, I also recognize that no one makes charges of this kind lightly and I take it and this situation very seriously." Fairfax maintained it was a "consensual encounter" and "at no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions."
Vanessa Tyson, Fairfax’s accuser, released a statement Wednesday through her law firm. She said, “I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual.” She also said she “never spoke to him again.”
Meanwhile, Democratic state Attorney General Mark Herring, who was an expected 2021 contender and would be third in line should Fairfax and Northam resign, released a statement Wednesday apologizing for wearing blackface at a college party in 1980. Herring stepped down from his post leading the Democratic Attorneys General Association.