The law firm that employs Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax earlier this year announced that it had retained outside counsel to investigate sexual assault allegations against him, but the firm now refuses to comment on the status of that investigation.
Fairfax is an attorney at Morrison & Foerster, which announced in September that he would be a partner in the firm’s commercial litigation, trials and investigations, and white-collar defense groups.
The firm put Fairfax on paid leave after two allegations of sexual assault against him were made public in February. His duties as lieutenant governor are part time.
“The firm has retained outside counsel to conduct an investigation. During the investigation, Justin Fairfax has taken a leave of absence from Morrison & Foerster,” Larren Nashelsky, the firm’s chair, said in a statement in February. “Justin has agreed to cooperate with the firm’s investigation.”
“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously. As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity.”
Asked if the investigation was still pending or had been completed, Morrison & Foerster spokesman Radley Moss would only say, via email, that Fairfax remained on leave of absence. He would not answer whether the investigation was ongoing or complete.
Vanessa Tyson, a college professor, has accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex in a Boston hotel room in 2004. Meredith Watson has accused Fairfax of raping her while the two were students at Duke University in 2000.
Fairfax, who has insisted the sexual contact with his accusers was consensual, gave a speech from the Senate dais decrying “political lynchings without any due process” and has said he is the victim of a “vicious and coordinated smear campaign.”
Fairfax spokeswoman Lauren Burke declined to comment on the law firm investigation.