Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement Monday saying he was leaving his job at Morrison & Foerster, the law firm that put him on paid leave in February after two sexual assault allegations against him were made public.
Fairfax’s statement said his firm investigated his “tenure at the firm” and “found no hint of any wrongdoing.”
Although a statement from the firm in February was widely interpreted and reported as meaning it would investigate the allegations against him, a statement from firm spokesman Radley Moss on Monday confirmed that the investigation only related to Fairfax’s time there.
Morrison & Foerster announced in September that Fairfax, a former federal prosecutor, would be a partner in its commercial litigation, trials and investigations, and white-collar defense groups.
“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,” Moss said in a statement sent by email. “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.”
Fairfax has denied the allegations by Vanessa Tyson, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004, and Meredith Watson, who has accused him of raping her in 2000 while she and Fairfax were classmates at Duke University.
Fairfax has said the sexual contact in each case was consensual and that the allegations are lies to hinder his political career.
No known law enforcement investigation is underway, and Democrats in the House of Delegates have resisted a call by Tyson and Watson for a public hearing in the General Assembly.
Fairfax, who has been positioning himself for a run for governor in 2021, said in his statement that he left the law firm “to focus my attention on serving the people of Virginia.”
The job of lieutenant governor is part time and has few duties when the General Assembly is not in session. The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and breaks most tie votes, and Fairfax will preside July 9 during a special session on guns.