Virginia Democrats' blackface row reopens racial tension in gift to Trump in

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Black Virginia lawmakers have reiterated their call for Gov. Ralph Northam to resign, but stopped short of calling for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax or Attorney General Mark Herring to step down.

At the same time, Governor Ralph Northam made his first public appearance since refusing to resign.

Gillespie and Northam had tussled over another matter involving Virginia's history regarding race: Gillespie said the Confederate statues in the state should stay up - not to celebrate that part of Virginia's history, but to acknowledge and learn from it - while Northam wanted the statues to come down.

A second woman came forward on Friday, accusing Fairfax of rape.

In its statement about Watson's accusation, Smith Mullin said the attack by Fairfax "was premeditated and aggressive", while also saying that Fairfax and Watson "were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship". She also shared her account with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that the law firm now says it has.

In a statement, her attorneys wrote that Watson "immediately" told friends after the incident that Fairfax had raped her.

Watson's representatives declined to provide further documentation and said their client would not talk to journalists. Dr. Vanessa Tyson, a political science professor at Scripps College, accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in Boston at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

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"It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me", he stated.

Duke campus police have no criminal reports naming Fairfax, university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said. A student from Thailand was referred to in the yearbook as a "Chink" and "Jap", while a caption under another student's picture referred to him as the "Barracks Jew", the Daily Press reported.

Fairfax has vehemently denied both allegations against him and told anyone who would listen on Friday that he believes he will be able to move past this scandal by telling his story. But within an hour of the new rape accusation on Friday, former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe called for Fairfax's immediate resignation, saying the allegations "are serious and credible". Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Elizabeth Warren of MA.

The pressure on Northam reached a crescendo Saturday when almost the entire Virginia Democratic establishment, as well as nearly every Democratic presidential hopeful, called on him to resign.

Fairfax denied the first allegation in a February 6 statement. "And so this has been a real, I think, an awakening for Virginia". She doesn't think anyone will step down, and as a loyal Democrat, she's not sure they should turn over the state to Republicans. The section says the lieutenant governor can be impeached by the House of Delegates and prosecuted before the Senate for "malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor". "If these allegations concerning Lieutenant Governor Fairfax are accurate", Warner said in a statement, "then they are clearly disqualifying and he must resign". Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of having Sen. "Regardless of the claims, Lieutenant Governor Fairfax won a Statewide election where millions of Virginians voted for him".

The still unfolding episode began Friday when a rightwing website published the damning photos from Northam's yearbook showing one white man in blackface and another man dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.

If both Fairfax and Northam resign, Attorney General Mark Herring would become governor.

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