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Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam refuses to resign before attending police funeral

Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam refuses to resign before attending police funeral

Fairfax (D) has been accused by two women of sexual assault, the newest of which he said was "demonstrably false".

The woman, identified as Meredith Watson, claims Fairfax raped her in 2000 when they were both students at Duke University in North Carolina.

"I will not resign", he said. "The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship".

"He revealed that Ms. Watson was the victim of a prior rape", Nancy Erika Smith, Watson's attorney, wrote in the second statement. Kaneedreck Adams, a friend of Watson's at Duke who lived across the hall in on-campus housing, said that one day in the spring semester of 2000, Watson entered her room crying.

Fairfax faces calls from many fellow Democrats to resign after Watson's accusation followed one by Scripps College professor Vanessa Tyson, who accused Fairfax of assaulting her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, as the Post and others reported.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax issued a statement denying both allegations and called them a "coordinated smear campaign".

"Lt. Governor Fairfax has an outstanding and well-earned reputation for treating people with dignity and respect", read a statement from Fairfax's chief of staff and communications director.

If Northam steps down, Fairfax is next to line to become governor. Watson allegedly told Adams that the assault happened at a fraternity house: "She said she couldn't speak, but she was trying to get up and he kept pushing her down".

"I have passed two full field background checks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before", he said.

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The state's former Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, said the allegations against Mr Fairfax "are serious and credible" and called for his "immediate resignation".

In an apparent effort at mending fences with Virginia's African-American population, Northam on Friday met privately with the president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, John Boyd Jr., in Richmond, the state capital.

Boyd, whose group says it represents 109,000 farmers across the country, said on Twitter afterward that he pledged his support to the governor and "urged him NOT to step down".

It's been a pretty bad couple of weeks for Democrats in Virginia.

That call was echoed by almost every member of Virginia's national congressional delegation, including Rep. Jennifer Wexton.

The Democrat - now a year into his four-year term - announced his intention to stay at a Friday afternoon Cabinet meeting, according to a senior official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. "I believe Meredith Watson", she tweeted.

After a week hunkered down in virtual seclusion under mounting pressure to resign, Northam indicated in an email message on Friday to state employees that he planned to keep his post.

The lieutenant governor denies both of the allegations.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said earlier this week that he wore brown makeup to a college party in 1980 because he wanted to look like rappers he listened to, specifically mentioning Kurtis Blow. "As with Dr. Tyson's allegation, it needs to be investigated thoroughly because it impacts his ability to continue to serve the Commonwealth".