Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax speaks to reporters in February in the Capitol in the wake of a sexual assault allegation that surfaced against him. (Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)
National media reports have dwelled on suggestions that Gov. Ralph Northam is behind the reemergence of sexual assault allegations against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Fairfax seemed to add fuel to that speculation Monday afternoon.
“Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out?,” he said.
But as he left the Senate later in the day, Fairfax clarified his remarks when asked again by reporters, saying he had no indication that Northam was involved, a charge the governor’s office vigorously disputes.
Then he hinted at another politician he felt had a role: Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, a potential rival in the 2021 gubernatorial election, though neither has formally announced intentions to run.
“I will tell you what, you all, you’re great reporters, and you’ll get to digging and you’ll get to make some connections,” Fairfax said.
A reporter noted a Facebook message sharing the allegation – the one that was screenshotted and posted on Big League Politics, which first published the allegations – bears the name Adria Scharf. And Scharf’s husband, Thad Williamson, is a former policy adviser in Stoney’s administration.
Fairfax responded: “You’re a great reporter.”
He then smiled and walked away from the scrum.
Williamson did not respond to messages seeking comment. Scharf told the Richmond Times-Dispatch earlier in the day that she did not communicate directly with Big League Politics but the paper says she did not respond to further questions.
A spokesman for Stoney denied the mayor is involved.
“This insinuation is 100 percent not true,” he said in a text message.
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