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House Speaker calls for ‘legislative forum’ into Fairfax allegations

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax presides over the state Senate in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, Feb. 7,...
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax presides over the state Senate in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. California college professor Vanessa Tyson has made an allegation of sexual assault against Fairfax. He has denied the allegations, casting them as a political smear. (Steve Earley/The Virginian-Pilot via AP) AP
Updated: Feb. 19, 2019 at 8:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Virginia’s Speaker of the House is calling for the the General Assembly to hold a “legislative forum” to investigate the sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, but House Democrats oppose to the idea.

Speaker Kirk Cox (R- Colonial Heights) tweeted the GOP is looking at holding some sort of “legislative forum” into the allegations and is calling on Democrats to “work with us.”

Earlier in the week, Cox said he wanted them to find the “best way” to look into the allegations of two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault.

But Cox’s latest tweet appears to firm up his call for a hearing, writing, “It’s becoming more compelling that a legislative forum should be seriously considered. We are actively working to develop that process and hope our Democrat colleagues will work with us moving forward.”

This comes after the Virginia House Democrats said in a series of tweets, “We believe that the law enforcement investigation should proceed unencumbered and outside of the political arena.”

The House Democrats again called on Fairfax to resign and said they “are willing to work in a bipartisan manner with members of the General Assembly on a path forward.”

In response to the Democrats’ statement, the attorney for Meredith Watson, the woman accusing Fairfax of rape at Duke University in 2000, wrote in a press release, “Apparently, the Virginia House Democratic Caucus believes that courageous victims of rape need to be heard - just not by them. Ms. Watson is counting on the General Assembly to do the right thing and hold hearings now. These nonstop efforts to duck their role is pure cowardice. Sympathy is welcome, but action is needed.”

Fairfax has repeatedly denied both sexual assault allegations against him and has refused numerous calls to resign. He has said he welcomes a law enforcement investigation.

The first accuser, Dr. Vanessa Tyson, has agreed to meet with the Suffolk County District Attorney about her allegation of sexual assault at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

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