The Democratic caucus in the Virginia House of Delegates said Tuesday that the sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax should be investigated by law enforcement without the General Assembly’s involvement.
“We believe that the law enforcement investigation should proceed unencumbered and outside of the political arena,” the caucus said in a statement.
A few hours later, House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, said the prospect of having legislative hearings is “becoming more compelling” and “should be seriously considered.”
“We are actively working to develop that process and hope our Democrat colleagues will work with us moving forward,” Cox said.
Though both parties said they’re committed to finding a bipartisan way forward, the two statements indicate a clear difference of opinion on who should take the lead in investigating the allegations.
On Monday, The Washington Post published an op-ed from Meredith Watson, one of the two Fairfax accusers, who has called for the General Assembly to hold public hearings at which Fairfax and his accusers could testify. Watson criticized the legislature for “inaction” in response to her allegation and suggested a law enforcement investigation could invite attacks on her character and end with “inconclusive results.”
Watson’s lawyer blasted the Democrats’ stance in a new statement Tuesday evening.