See below for the response by Meredith Watson’s attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, to Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, whose attorney is now calling for “prosecutors to open criminal investigations into sexual assault allegations made against Fairfax.” As always, I’m taking VERY seriously women who make credible accusations of sexual assault. For some background on this ongoing story, see: Video: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s Former Policy Director Speaks Out – “I believed and still believe that the Lieutenant Governor has lost the moral legitimacy to hold public office.”; Video: At Annandale HS, Virginia LG Justin Fairfax Asks CNN’s Jim Acosta About Due Process Rights; Video: Meredith Watson, Who Accuses Justin Fairfax of Raping Her in 2000 at Duke University, Speaks on “CBS This Morning”; 150+ Bryn Mawr School Alumnae Sign Statement of Support for Fellow Alumna, Meredith Watson: “Meredith, we believe you and stand by you”; etc.
Nancy Erika Smith Responds to Fairfax DA Letter
If Justin Fairfax wanted the public to know the truth, he would have welcomed the hearing in the Virginia legislature requested by Ms. Tyson & Ms. Watson. All parties will testify under oath and present witnesses. That is the last thing in the world Fairfax wants and he has fought it at every turn.
Fairfax’s changing story speaks for itself. First: the rapes didn’t happen. Then: the sex was consensual. His new claim – never before made – that Ms. Watson engaged in the crime of blackmail, is defamatory. Ms. Watson, who unlike Mr. Fairfax has always been consistent, didn’t want to put herself or Fairfax’s family (she knew his wife at Duke) through the public revelation of another rape allegation, so she gave him the opportunity to resign. Ms. Watson never threatened to sue Fairfax and never demanded money or favors. When Fairfax refused to step down, Ms. Watson felt that Dr. Tyson and the public deserved the truth.
Regarding the other statements in Fairfax’s lawyer’s recent letter:
- The claim that there was “elapsed time” before Ms. Watson told others about the rape is false. There was no “elapsed time” between Fairfax’s rape of Meredith Watson and her revealing it to several people who have already publicly confirmed her immediate report. Then, Ms. Watson repeatedly told others over the following years, people who have publicly confirmed it. Before Fairfax was elected, Ms. Watson emailed a person working on his campaign and revealed the rape. All of this evidence has been reported.
- Justin Fairfax – a lawyer – pushing the alleged polygraph results is an insult to the public. Mr. Fairfax is well aware that the highest court in Virginia has made it clear that so-called lie detector tests are wholly unreliable and inadmissible. Gary Ridgeway – who murdered 49 women – passed a lie detector test that an innocent man had failed. So did convicted spy Aldrich Ames. It’s shameful for Fairfax and his lawyer to push such voodoo out as relevant.
- Of course, Fairfax wants a secret, months- or years-long criminal investigation that he will use as an excuse not to answer any questions in public. He says he wants due process, but a hearing is due process. He still refuses to answer questions – as both accusers have done. Instead, he has his lawyers issue letters full of false and defamatory claims.
- Note that Fairfax criticizes his rape victims for openly answering Gayle King’s questions on TV. Ms. King offered Mr. Fairfax the opportunity to answer questions too – he would not. Fairfax refuses to answer questions in the Legislature and in the media. That says it all.
– Nancy Erika Smith, Attorney for Meredith Watson