Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Little More Information

Controversy swirling around the second highest elected official in Virginia may give us a glimpse into the perspective of Democratic candidates for the presidency. On Monday we were reminded by the Associated Press

Two women have made allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. But on Saturday, Fairfax issued a statement repeating his strong denials that he had ever sexually assaulted anyone and made clear he does not intend to immediately step down....

Though Virginia's congressional delegation is split

Since the two allegations against Fairfax were made, many top Democrats running for president in 2020 have called for Fairfax’s resignation, including Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Attorneys for both Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson say their clients would testify in any impeachment hearing,   Fairfax has denied the charges and called for an FBI investigation, though it is more likely an investigation would be conducted by local police and/or prosecutors because the the offenses alleged are not federal crimes.  

He also decried a "rush to judgement" and that was before Politico reported late yesterday.

A woman who alleged Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax raped her in college was accused of harassing and threatening a man she had a relationship with, according to Maryland court records.

The man sought and received a peace order against Meredith Watson in July 2008, the records show. A peace order falls under the “umbrella term” of a restraining order in the state of Maryland, University of Maryland law professor Leigh Goodmark said. It is applied to situations in which a person may need to ask for distance from someone who isn't their spouse or live-in partner, he said

In a petition for the restraining order, obtained by POLITICO, the man described an incident in which Watson “was detaining me against my will ... [and] not letting me leave” a vacation house in Corolla, N.C., and “dented the trunk” of his vehicle with her fist. In another instance, Watson showed up at his house stating “she was going to kill herself” and sent “threatening text messages” to the man, who had his sister come over to persuade her to leave, according to the document.

Watson’s spokeswoman, Karen Kessler, did not comment for this story before publication. After the story was published a lawyer for Watson, Nancy Erika Smith, said the order granted was a seven-day court order and that Watson “was not in the Courtroom and did not know about the proceedings or have an opportunity to be heard” when it was issued. The man “abandoned the effort after hearing from Ms. Watson’s lawyer,” Smith said.

The dispute between the two centered around $2,000 that was owed to Watson and was resolved, Smith said, with the man agreeing to pay Watson. The man who filed the request for the order did not respond to a request for comment for this story, nor did Fairfax through his office.

It appears that, regrettably, the three presidential hopefuls who had it all figured out were not asked for comment.  Politico adds

Watson also told friends she was raped by former Duke University basketball player Corey Maggette, according to a report in The New York Times. “I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge," Maggette, who became an NBA player, said...

The petition against Watson also stated that, “Within 30 days the respondent was at my home and wouldn’t leave [and] the respondent was throwing property and I had to call my sister over [to] the house to make her leave. On numerous occasions respondent has stated she was going to kill herself."

“This isn’t the first time or occurrence,” the man wrote.

The petition said Watson called the man “around 100 times a day” after the vacation house incident and sent him text messages.

“I am going to enjoy tearing you down just as much as you enjoyed tearing me down. Hang on tight because you are in for a ride!” read one of the alleged text messages that the man transcribed on the petition.

It still is possible that Watson was in fact raped by Justin Fairfax or that there was improper contact of some sort.  Even if not the case, there is still the matter of the charge made by Ms. Tyson.

However, this most recent information that has come to light demonstrates further that there needs to be a full investigation.  We probably then would learn why- in a question no one media outlet has had the backbone to ask- a woman raped by a man and one forced into oral intercourse evidently did not report the matter to either the local police department or the county prosecutor's office.

There may have been an awfully good reason in both cases. Still, it's a missing critical piece of this puzzle.

Also missing is an explanation by Mr. Booker, Ms. Warren, and Ms. Gillibrand as to whether they are convinced the allegations are accurate or instead believe that the charges themselves require Justin Fairfax to step down from the position to which the voters of Virginia elected him.  It's the least we should expect from individuals who are asking voters for the opportunity to pull us out of the mess we got into a long time ago, and which Donald J. Trump is aggravating almost daily.

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