RICHMOND, Va. – In his fight against CBS, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax added information that he believes could help his $400 million lawsuit.
In the amended complaint, Fairfax and his lawyer state that CBS had information that would have made the accusations against Fairfax false, or at least, led the company to not run the interviews they did.
“CBS had access to information both before and after publication indicating that the suspiciously-timed accusations made against Fairfax were false, but instead decided to burnish its #MeToo credentials in light of recent, high-profile sexual assault and harassment accusations against key figures at CBS. It is clear that CBS found, and continues to find, its agenda more important than reporting the truth,” said an email from a Fairfax spokesperson.
CBS News aired interviews with two women who have accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting them. CBS News anchor Gayle King interviewed both Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson earlier this year, where they described their encounters with Fairfax. He denies the encounters were non-consensual.
The amendment also alleges that an “Internal CBS attorney who handles defamation cases for the network possessed critical evidence that Watson’s story of having been assaulted by Fairfax twenty years ago was false. Yet, CBS still chose to air Watson’s allegations in an exclusive nationwide interview to millions of viewers in April 2019. ”
The lawsuit is filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia. It says Fairfax’s character was defamed and says CBS intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him.
In the lawsuit, Fairfax alleges CBS News had information before the stories aired “indicating that both allegations had not been corroborated by any independent investigation. Yes, CBS recklessly disregarded whether what Watson and Tyson were saying was, in fact, true.”
Both women came publicly forward in February as it appeared Fairfax might ascend to become governor. Gov. Ralph Northam faced calls for his resignation after a racist photo was discovered in his yearbook. Northam initially apologized for the photo, but later denied being in it. He remains in office.
Tyson says Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Watson says Fairfax raped her in 2000 when the two were students at Duke University.
Fairfax also claims a lawyer for CBS knows him and Watson because the lawyer also went to Duke. Fairfax says CBS either didn’t listen to the lawyer or the lawyer didn’t take steps to prevent the story from airing.
In addition, he believes former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney attempted to use Tyson’s allegation against him for political purposes. All three are potential candidates for governor in 2021.
In a statement, CBS News said, “We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit.”