Fairfax Files Defamation Lawsuit After Accusation

Fairfax Files Defamation Lawsuit After Accusation

Fairfax Files Defamation Lawsuit After Accusation

Remember the case of Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax of Virginia? Right when Governor Ralph Northam was imploding (blackface or hood, Governor – which was it?), Fairfax was slapped with accusations of rape and sexual assault.

He denied both accusations, and then the story went precisely nowhere. There were no charges filed against him (neither accuser has, to this date, filed a police report), and while Fairfax has talked about legal action against the women who accused him, that has not happened, either. But the accusations against Fairfax most likely spurred Northam into not resigning, and while no one can confirm or deny Fairfax’s guilt or innocence, the #MeToo cloud now hangs over him.

Fairfax has taken a polygraph test and stepped down from his private law firm, but his political future still seems viable (he actually commented that the accusations raised his profile among Virginia voters).

And now, he has filed a defamation lawsuit against CBS News.


The crux of his argument is that CBS took the women’s stories at face value without any additional investigation – which may have revealed exonerating evidence.

In his lawsuit, Fairfax argued that CBS and King failed to do their due diligence before airing the interviews with Watson and Tyson.”

The lawsuit contended that King “failed to ask basic questions” of the two women, and “failed to separately investigate the allegations in advance of the airing date, and instead only spoke to Watson, Tyson and their representatives.”

Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that CBS “failed to interview other individuals who may have been able to confirm or contradict the allegations.”

The lawsuit alleged that CBS employs a lawyer who is a mutual friend of Watson, Fairfax, and an eyewitness to the encounter Watson had with Fairfax. According to the lawsuit, the eyewitness “has stated to multiple people” that Fairfax “did not rape or sexually assault Watson.”

The lawsuit said that Watson “did not mention an eyewitness in her interview with King or at any other time.”

The complaint argued that the CBS lawyer either was “unable to prevent CBS from airing the Watson interview” or “did not take steps to prevent CBS from airing” the interview despite knowledge from the eyewitness and Fairfax her story was “false and that there was an eyewitness corroborating that Watson’s story was false.”


Now, as they say, it would be big, if true, if CBS had exculpatory evidence in Fairfax’s favor and declined to air it. However, this is a deeply interesting media case study. All the major players in this story are considered by the liberal media to be a “protected” group – all involved are black Democrats. Which means that this now breaks down by gender – the media promoted the women over the man. IF (and this is a big if) what Fairfax says is true, then he might have a case against CBS for one of the interviews. Also remember that Fairfax has never denied being sexually involved with these women – he said it was consensual at the time.

The lawsuit may still go nowhere, and even be dismissed, for a couple of reasons.
1) Fairfax is asking the courts, through this defamation suit, to clear his name. If he wanted his name cleared, why not sue the accusers directly? Answer: CBS has deeper pockets. Obviously, he is going after CBS because of the alleged editorial misconduct, but let’s be realistic about who would be more worthwhile to spend the time suing.

2) Fairfax is a elected public official. If the Covington Catholic defamation lawsuits can be dismissed, there’s little chance that Fairfax wins his lawsuit – unless he can prove his claim that CBS deliberately withheld evidence in his favor. That would upend the argument and prove misconduct – but he has to show that there was actual malice involved, too. As a public figure, he has a lot steeper legal hill to climb.

Did CBS jump ahead of itself because of the #MeToo angle, even though it derailed a Democrat – one who was on the cusp of being the next governor of Virginia? Who benefits from the accusations and the interviews? If Fairfax can prove his case, it will show just how much power the media had in pushing the #MeToo movement when the story was just too good for them to pass up.

Featured image: Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, image cropped

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