Eyewitness can say Lt. Gov. Fairfax did not rape Duke classmate, lawyer says
NORFOLK, Va. – An eyewitness can come forward and say Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax did not rape a classmate at Duke University in 2000, an attorney for Fairfax wrote in a new letter to the District Attorney of Durham, N.C.
Barry Pollack again is calling on the DA to investigate the claim by a woman named Meredith Watson, who says Fairfax raped her in a frat house. Fairfax has repeatedly denied the claim and the claims of sexual assault from another woman named Vanessa Tyson. He says the encounters were consensual.
The eyewitness says Watson came over to the frat house in the spring of 2000, according to the letter. The eyewitness “observed Ms. Watson initiate a sexual encounter with Mr. Fairfax in the eyewitness’ room.” He stayed with Ms. Watson after the sexual encounter and after Fairfax left, according to the letter.
The eyewitness spoke with several people and has “told those individuals he can definitely say that Ms. Watson was not raped or sexually assaulted by Mr. Fairfax in any way,” the letter reads.
A spokesperson for Fairfax didn’t clarify how the man became an eyewitness, whether he was in the room or participated.
Fairfax’s attorney previously wrote letters to prosecutors in Boston and Durham, where the encounters happened, asking them to investigate in an effort to get to the truth. In the most recent letter, dated July 9, Pollack says he has not heard back from the Durham DA.
In an interview in April, Watson told CBS News Fairfax “forcibly sexually assaulted and raped” her. Both of Fairfax’s accusers have called on state lawmakers to hold hearings to investigate the allegations, but so far no hearing date has been set.
Fairfax denies the allegations and claims he’s passed two polygraph tests. He has now resigned from his law firm in Northern Virginia.
Nancy Erika Smith, an attorney for Watson, responded in a statement. “Five months after being accused of rape, Justin Fairfax changes his story yet again. First it didn’t happen then it was consensual, and now for the first time he implicates his buddy as a participant. If Justin Fairfax wants the truth to come out, this secret witness should testify under oath, in public, along with Mr. Fairfax, both his victims and their witnesses. Fairfax continues to fight a public hearing tooth and nail. That says it all.”
A spokesperson for Fairfax pushed back on Smith’s statement, saying Fairfax has never changed his story.