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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's staff members resign after sexual assault allegations
12 February 2019, 12:55 | Tara Lloyd
Second woman accuses Virginia's Lt Governor of sexual assault
Northam is now shrouded in criticism after photos from his medical school yearbook from 1984 emerged last week, showing someone wearing blackface posed alongside a person dressed as a KKK member. "There's no better person to do that than a doctor", the governor said.
The state capitol has been plunged into turmoil by the twin scandals.
A housecleaning could be costly: If all three resign, Republican state House Speaker Kirk Cox would become Virginia's governor.
The allegations against Fairfax have placed Democrats in an uncomfortable position: They are attempting to push a rising African-American star out of office while a white governor and attorney general accused of racism may remain.
Another black lawmaker, who he also declined to name, made a powerful point about white privilege, Northam said: That a white person who makes a mistake gets a second chance, while a black person might not.
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Mr Northam was asked why he initially apologised for the photo before backtracking and denying he was either in the picture.
Patrick Hope, a Democratic member of the state's House of Delegates, said he believed Fairfax should have resigned already after two women accused him of sexual assault but added he would not move immediately on his weekend call for impeachment proceedings.
A Washington Post-Schar School poll, which only asked about Tyson's allegation, found most were still undecided about the accusation, with 65 percent saying they didn't know enough to judge Fairfax's denial of the accusation.
Fairfax, meanwhile, released a statement on Saturday again saying the encounters were consensual and called for an impartial law enforcement body to investigate. Now many fret their current crisis in leadership will not only cost them chances of winning GOP-held seats, but also several seats currently held by Democrats.
He said Monday that the records of Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring show "they are different people" than they were when they wore blackface more than three decades ago.
"It is atrocious that he will be presiding over the Senate of Virginia today with these allegations", Hope said in a statement.
Northam at first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it a day later, but acknowledged he once put shoe polish on his face to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest in 1984.
But the second allegation, which emerged late Friday, led to a bipartisan wave of calls for him to step down.
A Virginia lawmaker on Monday backed off his plans to swiftly introduce an impeachment bill seeking the ouster of the state's leading black elected official as Democrats struggled to address revelations of past racist behavior and allegations of sexual assault roiling its highest levels of office.
Northam, now a year into his four-year term, announced his intention to stay at an afternoon Cabinet meeting, according to a senior official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
If Fairfax were to leave, it's unclear who could replace him.
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