Virginia Democrats pressured Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax to resign on Monday over accusations of sexual assault which he denies, but held off on pursuing impeachment, with the Republican speaker of the state House urging restraint.
A Virginia lawmaker is now suggesting he won't move forward Monday with plans to introduce an impeachment bill seeking the ouster of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. A lawyer for another woman accusing Fairfax of sexual assault, Meredith Watson, said in a statement that Fairfax raped Watson in 2000 when they were students at Duke University, calling the alleged attack "premeditated and aggressive".
A copy of the resolution, obtained by CNN, reads, "the House of Delegates believes all allegations of sexual assault must be taken with the utmost seriousness", and describes the allegations made by the two women as "credible in nature".
Fairfax denies ever sexually assaulting anyone.
"It is especially important in the most hard of times that we pay attention to our fundamental Constitutional values", the statement continues.
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) spoke with Gayle King on Monday about the controversy surrounding the racist photo that appeared in his EVMS yearbook, harping on why he will continue as the Governor of Virginia.
READ: Was racist photo in Virginia governor's college yearbook a mix-up? "The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor", he added.
"I was born in white privilege and that has implications to it", Northam said.
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In his first interview since the scandal erupted, a chastened Northam told The Washington Post on Saturday that the uproar has pushed him to confront the state's deep and lingering divisions over race, as well as his own insensitivity.
During the same press conference, Northam admitted to darkening his face for a costume.
"African Americans are very angry at the double standard on full display in Virginia!"
Northam said he planned to focus on addressing issues stemming from inequality, including improving access to health care, housing, and transportation. "But I can tell you that I am sure, just like me, he has grown".
"Yes, again, when I stepped back and looked at it, I just said, I know it's not me in the Klan outfit".
Northam also added to CBS that the first time he had seen the photo was after it had surfaced on February 1. But he made no public comments.
The allegations against Fairfax have placed Democrats in an uncomfortable position: They are attempting to push a rising African-American star out of office while a white governor and attorney general accused of racism may remain.
In response to the allegation, Fairfax in his Saturday statement said: "I heard from Dr. Tyson after the 2004 Convention, and she never said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort".