Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has filed a defamation lawsuit against CBS News, claiming that the network published false statements by two women who said he sexually assaulted them.
The lawsuit stems from accusations from two separate women. One of the women, Vanessa Tyston, a college professor, said that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex in a Boston hotel in 2004. The second woman, Meredith Watson, said that Fairfax raped her while the two were students at Duke University in 2000.
The two women made their allegations public and did interviews with CBS News in February.
Fairfax has repeatedly denied the allegations against him and said both situations were consensual.
Fairfax’s lawyers called the allegations a “political hit job—a deliberate and calculated effort to permanently harm Fairfax’s political and professional career and to attempt to prevent him from becoming Governor of Virginia.”
The lawsuit claims that an eyewitness was present during the consensual encounter between Watson and Fairfax and says that CBS didn’t ask Watson if she encountered anyone else as she entered or left the room.
The suit alleges that CBS purposely failed to investigate leads and didn’t ask the questions that Fairfax’s spokesperson suggested they ask.
The lawsuit states, “a current CBS legal officer, who was a Duke classmate of Watson’s and Fairfax’s, had information all along that Fairfax did not rape or sexually assault Watson.”
“Fairfax brings this action to restore his reputation and clear his name, ensure the truth prevails, stop the weaponization of false allegations of sexual assault against him, and vindicate his rights under civil law,” the lawsuit said.
Fairfax is requesting $400 million in monetary damages from the lawsuit.