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GOP Calls For Hearing On Fairfax Allegations During Special Session

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Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax at a press conference in April. Ben Paviour/WCVE

Virginia House Republicans want a public hearing on the sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax to be conducted during an upcoming special legislative session on gun violence.

Fairfax’s accusers have asked the legislature to hold a public hearing at which they could testify. Democrats say the process would be too political.

Governor Ralph Northam called a July 9 special session to consider gun regulations in the wake of a mass shooting in Virginia Beach. GOP leaders say it would be a good opportunity to address the allegations against the Democratic lieutenant governor.

But Kathryn Gilley, a spokeswoman for the House Democratic Caucus said Democrats prefer the hearing be conducted by a third party.

“At this point, House Republicans have shown that they want nothing more than a political partisan show and they don’t have any good-faith efforts to work with Democrats,” Gilley said.

Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesman for House Speaker Kirk Cox said in a statement an independent hearing is not a serious idea.

“Democrats would prefer these women be forced to tell their stories shrouded in secrecy so Democrats can sweep it under the rug rather than agreeing to give these brave women the voice they have repeatedly asked for,” he said.

Meredith Watson accuses Fairfax of raping her in college, while Vanessa Tyson says he sexually assaulted her at the Democratic National Convention. Fairfax denies the allegations.

Attorneys for Fairfax sent letters last week to district attorneys in Durham, N.C. and Boston, calling for an investigation.

In a press release, Watson’s attorney said Fairfax wants a "secret, months- or years-long criminal investigation that he will use as an excuse not to answer any questions in public".

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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