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Northam, Fairfax and next steps

2/15/2019, 6 a.m.
The controversy swamping Virginia’s top three executives continues, with Gov. Ralph S. Northam refusing to resign in the wake of ...

As for Lt. Gov. Fairfax, let us remind our readers of the importance of the legal principle that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The allegations against Lt. Gov. Fairfax are serious and already have damaged the prospects of the 39-year-old attorney, who was considered a rising star in Virginia politics. 

We believe the women and Lt. Gov. Fairfax all need to be heard in an appropriate forum. 

We recommend that an impartial special counsel in the style of Robert Mueller be brought in, perhaps under the auspices of Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, to investigate the women’s claims and Lt. Gov. Fairfax’s assertions that the sexual encounters were consensual. The special counsel would then report back to the public and the General Assembly with his or her findings and recommendations.

If Lt. Gov. Fairfax is proven to have committed the repugnant acts the women allege, then he should be removed from public office. But we remind our readers of Emmett Till and the abhorrent acts of the past in which African-American men were lynched and murdered for alleged acts against women that later were proven false. Experience instructs us that while we should respect and listen to all women who bring forward allegations, we must review all facts and not automatically conflate allegations with evidence.

We have hope that an independent special counsel, with the full and complete cooperation of the two women and Lt. Gov. Fairfax, will help resolve this matter. It is imperative that we get at the truth and restore a level of trust in Virginia in our top elected officials.

We will discuss Attorney General Herring at a later time.