Lawyers for Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax have formally requested prosecutors in Suffolk County, Mass., and Durham County, N.C. to open criminal investigations into the sexual assault allegations made against Fairfax in February, reports WJLA.
The allegation of Meredith Watson, who accused Fairfax of raping her in 2000 when they were students at Duke University, should be fully investigated, argued Barry J. Pollack, Fairfax’s attorney, in the letter to the Durham County district attorney. Wrote Pollack:
If an investigation were to determine that the allegation is true, it should be criminally prosecuted. Conversely, if an investigation were to determine that the allegation is false, which Lt. Governor Fairfax is confident would be the conclusion of any unbiased and professional investigation, the matter could be closed and the public informed.
Fundamental fairness requires that when a person makes a serious criminal allegation in the most public way possible, as Ms. Watson has done, an objective and thorough investigation of that allegation should be conduced, and the results reported to the public. Just as no serious crime should go unprosecuted, no innocent person should have his reputation tarnished by a false allegation.
(Fairfax attorney Ian Polumbaum makes similar arguments in a letter to the Suffolk County, Mass., prosecutor here.)
These strike me as perfectly reasonable statements. If Fairfax wants his “day in court” to clear his name, he should be entitled to one. Likewise, if his accusers are willing to publicly accuse him of rape, common decency would insist that they present their evidence to prosecutors and submit to rigorous questioning.
Virginia’s political establishment seems determined to sweep the matter under the rug. This is a no-win controversy for Democratic Party leaders. If the women are vindicated, a popular African-American politician with a great political future ahead of him is politically ruined. If Fairfax is vindicated, a blow is struck against the #metoo presumption that all women should be believed when they allege sexual assault.
It will be interesting to see if out-of-state prosecutors with no skin in the Virginia political game are to willing oblige Fairfax and give him his investigation.
Of course, there is a third possible income. In a he-said/she-said situation, investigators may be unable to develop conclusive evidence to support either Fairfax or his accusers. What then? Is Fairfax entitled to a presumption of innocence? How would that play out in the Democratic Party less than a year after the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearing?
James Bacon is the publisher of baconsrebellion.com