Northam Says Blackface Photo Scandal Has Been An 'Awakening For Virginia'

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Governor Justin Fairfax, who only one week ago was poised to ascend to the top executive position in the commonwealth, is now facing the loudest calls for resignation put upon Virginia's top three elected Democrats after a second woman accused him of sexual assault on Friday.

Fairfax issued a statement Saturday again denying the allegations and saying his encounters with the women were consensual.

The firm, New Jersey-based Smith Mullin, said Watson was "not seeking any financial damages", and said her attorneys had notified Fairfax through his lawyers "that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office".

The statement from Watson's attorney said Fairfax used knowledge of her prior rape to plan his own attack on her in 2000.

"Last Friday I called on Gov. Northam to resign immediately".

Tyson claims Fairfax sexually assaulted her during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Virginia's state government seemed to come unglued on February 8 as an embattled Gov. Ralph Northam made it clear he won't resign and the man in line to succeed him was hit with another sexual assault accusation and barraged with demands that he step down, too.

Watson's statement lends further credence to the account provided by Vanessa Tyson, who has accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her 15 years ago in Boston, according to the joint statement from the five USA representatives from Virginia.

Kaneedreck Adams, a fellow Duke graduate and friend of Ms Watson, told the Washington Post she recalled when Ms Watson came to her crying in the spring of 2000. Castro also called for the resignation of Northam, which would wipe the slate clean of the two top spots in Virginia's state government.

"The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible".

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As the crisis widened in the middle of the week, Democratic leaders and black members of the Virginia legislature appeared willing to give both Fairfax and Herring the benefit of the doubt for the time being - in Herring's case, because he apologized personally for wearing blackface.

But the latest allegation of rape brought a torrent of demands for Fairfax to quit, including collective calls for his ouster from all Democrats in the state House of Delegates and Senate, and the state Legislative Black Caucus. Petersen's Democratic-leaning district includes Fairfax and Vienna.

Fairfax has denied both allegations, called them part of a "smear campaign", and said he won't step down. And a Democratic member of the state House, Del.

Numerous state's Democrats have called on Northam to step down over the yearbook photo, which shows one person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan attire.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The sexual assault allegation made recently against a former Duke men's basketball player is being investigated, the university announced Saturday.

He told the Post that conversations this week with black state lawmakers, who are among those calling for him to resign, helped him better understand the history and hurtfulness of blackface, which he has admitted using in 1984 to portray Michael Jackson at a dance contest.

"Allegations of sexual assault need to be taken seriously".

The third Democrat Sabato is referring to is Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who this week also admitted to wearing blackface while at UVA in the 1980s.

But the specter of Mr. Fairfax, 39, being pushed out while two older white men remain in office - despite blackface behavior that evoked some of the country's most painful racist images - would deeply trouble many African-Americans.

Comstock suggested probing who knew about the accusations against the lieutenant governor and when they knew about them.

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