Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s office said Sunday that he has passed two polygraph tests that show he was truthful when he denied allegations of sexual assault made against him by two women.
The tests were administered Friday by a retired FBI polygraph expert and showed Fairfax (D) answered truthfully in denying he engaged in nonconsensual sexual activity with each of his accusers, said Barry Pollack, an attorney for Fairfax.
Fairfax, 40, has maintained he did not assault the women, whose allegations became public in February as the Virginia statehouse was roiled by scandal in the aftermath of revelations about a racist photo in Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook. That was followed by an admission from Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) that he wore blackface to imitate a rapper during a college party in 1980.
For a brief time, it appeared Northam (D) might step down and Fairfax might rise to the state’s top post and become Virginia’s second African American governor. But the sexual assault allegations drew calls for Fairfax’s resignation, and Northam did not resign.
The first allegation against Fairfax came from Vanessa Tyson, now a college professor, who accused him of forcing her to perform a sex act on him in a hotel room at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
A second woman, Meredith Watson, alleged Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2000 when they were both undergraduates at Duke University.
Fairfax has said both encounters were consensual.
Fairfax has publicly called for an investigation of the allegations by law enforcement, though he has not received an indication that one is underway, said Lauren Burke, a spokeswoman. He took the polygraph tests as a way to clear his name and reputation, she said.
Burke said there was no particular reason for Fairfax taking the polygraph at this point, nearly two months after the scandal broke. “We just had to schedule it, and that’s the date that came up,” she said. She said the timing was not keyed to interviews with Fairfax’s two accusers that are expected to be aired Monday and Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” which she said the office did not learn of until late last week.
The Friday polygraph tests were done by Jeremiah Hanafin, who Pollack said was used by Tyson’s attorney, Debra Katz, while she represented Christine Blasey Ford when she came forward with allegations about now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Hanafin gave Fairfax a test related to each of his accusers, Pollack said. The examination given was done in a standard format, with control questions and questions focused on each accuser’s allegations.
In one test, Fairfax was asked whether Tyson was “crying at any time while she was in your hotel room,” Fairfax said “no,” and that was found to be truthful, Pollack said, adding that Tyson has stated she was crying and shaken while she was with Fairfax in the hotel room.
In a question about the Watson allegations, Fairfax was asked whether Watson gave “any physical or verbal indication she did not want to have sexual contact” with him, and he said “no.” That answer was deemed truthful, Pollack said.
“The lieutenant governor has told the truth throughout: that the allegations are simply not true,” Pollack said. “The allegations are serious, they deserve to be heard, but a fair, professional and impartial investigation of the facts will demonstrate that the allegations are not true.”
Representatives for Tyson and Watson could not immediately be reached Sunday.
Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.