Lt. Gov. Fairfax leaves post at Morrison & Foerster after law firm’s investigation

Lieutenant Governor Race_1549289407056

In this Thursday Oct. 5, 2017 photo Democrat Justin Fairfax gestures during a debate with Republican Virginia State Sen. Jill Vogel, right, at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor, and Vogel, a state senator from Fauquier County, are running for lieutenant governor in next month’s election. The post that […]

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) said Monday he plans to focus his attention “on serving the people of Virginia” when he announced his departure from the Morrison & Foerster law firm. Fairfax, who had joined the firm in 2018, voluntarily took a leave of absence following two sexual assault allegations made against him in February.

The lieutenant governor said he waited to leave Morrison & Foerster after it completed an investigation into whether or not there had been misconduct from Fairfax during his tenure at the firm. A spokesperson for the law firm told our sister station in Richmond that the investigation “found neither allegations nor evidence of any wrongdoing.”

Following reports that two women in February 2019 alleged sexual assault in 2000 and 2004, the firm initiated an investigation to determine whether there had been misconduct during Justin’s tenure at the firm. Justin joined the firm in September 2018. While outside counsel conducted that investigation Justin voluntarily took a leave of absence. Justin fully cooperated with the investigation. The investigation conducted by the firm found neither allegations nor evidence of any wrongdoing by Justin during his tenure at the firm. With the conclusion of our investigation, Justin’s leave of absence has ended. Justin has informed us, however, that he has decided to leave the firm and we respect that decision.”

Morrison & Foerster spokesperson

Our sister station reached out to Fairfax’s office about his plans to leave Morrison & Foerster. In a statement, Fairfax denied the sexual assault allegations made against him by Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson and confirmed his decision to leave his post at the law firm.

When Morrison & Foerster announced several months ago that it intended to perform an investigation following the recent allegations about events from 15 and 19 years ago, I told the firm I would fully cooperate, knowing that any investigation they decided to perform would find I had done nothing wrong. Morrison & Foerster investigated my tenure at the firm and found no hint of any wrongdoing.  
The allegations by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson are false and totally inconsistent with how I have lived my entire life. I previously passed two FBI background checks. I have now voluntarily passed two lie detector tests related to the allegations by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson. I have repeatedly asked for an investigation by law enforcement because I know that any professional, unbiased investigation will clear my name. It has been an honor to be affiliated with such a distinguished firm as Morrison & Foerster and I wanted to allow them to conclude their investigation before announcing my departure from the firm. But with that process completed, I have decided that, at the present time, it is best for me to focus my attention on serving the people of Virginia.”  

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax

Our sister station reached out to the lawyers of Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson for comment but have yet to hear back.

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