Patterico's Pontifications

2/8/2019

Still Tumbling Down The Virginia Rabbit Hole: Gov. Northam Image Rehab Includes Reading “Roots”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

You have got to be kidding me.

In spite of calls for his resignation by a few prominent Democrats, including Rev. Al Sharpton and the Virginia black legislative caucus, Gov. Northam of Virginia is digging in and refusing to resign. He is now on a mission to repair his image as he tries to make amends for having offended so many Virginians. While at first admitting that he was in the racist yearbook photograph, and then later denying it, he’s now working with a P.R. firm to do damage control.

In the interest of brevity, here’s the set-up and the kicker:

His office has begun to explore how it might recalibrate Northam’s legislative agenda to focus closely on race and equality, sources close to the governor tell BuzzFeed News. The move would mark a brazen attempt to hang onto his office by shifting the conversation away from Northam’s admission of having once worn blackface and his denials that he is featured in the racist yearbook photo, either as the person in blackface or the person in a Klan outfit. Northam’s policy team is looking at crafting a set of proposals based on the premise that the governor’s mistakes have rendered him keenly aware of inequity and the lack of justice faced by black Virginians 400 years after the first African people arrived in the Commonwealth, at Point Comfort, in 1619.

The centerpiece proposal is not complete in its scope or in terms of what it will seek to accomplish. But there are many possibilities being considered for a broad platform: increasing resources for affordable housing; setting new, more equitable standards in small business procurement; implementing programs that expand economic opportunity for entrepreneurs; pumping money into public services like education and transportation.

“Now that he knows better he is going to do better,” a Northam adviser said.

[…]

Northam doesn’t plan to hold any more press conferences any time soon. Advisers are in the midst of negotiations with major networks for a nationally televised interview they hope will humanize him. Additionally, his advisers have assigned the governor homework: He’s begun to read Alex Haley’s “Roots”, and “The Case for Reparations,” the seminal essay in The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

How is it possible that a 59-year old governor of Virginia does not know just about everything one needs to know about racism in America, and, particularly, in his very own state? As ridiculous as this all seems, Northam’s rehab efforts might actually work now that there has been a second accusation of sexual assault leveled against Lt. Gov. Fairfax.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Second Woman Accuses Lt. Gov. Fairfax Of Sexual Assault (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:04 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This time it’s an accusation of rape being made by a former college classmate, Meredith Watson:

Lawyers for Meredith Watson released a statement Friday saying that she was raped by Fairfax while they were both Duke University students in 2000, and called for Fairfax’s resignation.

Here is a statement released by her lawyers:

We serve as counsel for Meredith Watson, who was raped by Justin Fairfax in 2000, while they were both students at Duke University. Mr. Fairfax’s attack was premeditated and aggressive. The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship.

Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession. Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.

Ms. Watson was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her. The details of Ms. Watson’s attack are similar to those described by Dr. Vanessa Tyson.

At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character. She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.

On behalf of our client, we have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office.

The law firm said that Fairfax has been made aware of this accusation. So far he has not commented on this latest allegation.

The accusation by Watson comes only days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson released a statement describing what happened between her and Fairfax. Interestingly, witnesses say that Dr. Tyson told them about the encounter with Fairfax:

In separate interviews Thursday and Friday, five friends of Dr. Tyson said she told them of the encounter either in late 2017, early 2018 or last Fall. One, a mutual friend of Dr. Tyson and Mr. Fairfax, who asked not to be named to protect his own privacy, said he dated Dr. Tyson in the late 1990s and believed her account. Given her experience with abuse as a child, he said, she was not the type of person to become intimate in the way she described with someone she had just met.

Remember, too, that it was reported that Tyson told her story to Democratic representative as well:

Dr. Tyson’s account was also partly corroborated late Wednesday night by Representative Bobby Scott, Democrat of Virginia, whose aides said Dr. Tyson told the congressman a year ago that she had made an allegation of sexual assault against Mr. Fairfax, without offering details.

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has denied the latest allegation made against him:

I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever. I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth. I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before. IT is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

A Few News Items

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

Just going to leave these right here.

1) Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker before the House Judiciary Committee said he did not interfer in the Russia inquiry:

The hearing quickly turned contentious as the committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler, pressed Mr. Whitaker for details about when he had been briefed about the special counsel investigation and the acting attorney general refused to answer.

But under pressure from the chairman, Mr. Whitaker made news: He testified that he had not talked to Mr. Trump or senior White House officials about information: “I do not believe that I have briefed third-party individuals outside of the Department of Justice. I’ve received the briefings myself, and I’m usually the endpoint at that information.”

Mr. Whitaker ultimately declared that though he had been briefed, he had followed “the special counsel’s regulations to a T.”

2) Gov. Northam of Virginia staying put?:

A close associate of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) says he doesn’t expect the governor to resign over the emergence of a racist photo in a past yearbook and his disclosure that he had once worn blackface.

Republican state Sen. Richard Stuart, a close friend of the governor who has talked with Northam told Politico that Northam “knows what he has to do” to remain in office.

“He’s not leaving,” said Stuart. “He understands he has to stand up and face this. He knows what he has to do. He’s staying.”

3) Gov. Northam cuts deal with Republicans. Anything to stay in office, eh?:

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican lawmakers said Friday they’ve agreed on a tax deal that will return nearly $1 billion to Virginians.

The agreement, reached unusually early in Virginia’s often contentious budget-writing process, would:

Give taxpayers a credit of $110 for individuals — $220 for couples filing jointly — to be distributed in October, the month before this year’s state elections in which all 100 House and 40 state Senate seats are up for a vote.

Increase the state standard deduction from $3,000 to $4,500 for individuals and from $6,000 to $9,000 for couples, to take effect with next year’s tax filings.

Retain the current deduction on state and local taxes, instead of adopting the $10,000 cap in last year’s federal tax changes.

Those changes, mainly a doubling of the federal standard deduction, would generate a roughly $1.1 billion flood of money this year and next into state coffers without any changes in Virginia law.

Jim Geraghty suggests this is why Northam went for the deal:

Why did Northam agree to the deal? Watching almost every member of his party in the state call for his resignation may have made him less motivated to fight for their priorities – particularly when his former allies take a less-adamant stance regarding scandals involving the lieutenant governor and state attorney general. Northam is reportedly toying with the idea of leaving the Democratic Party and governing as an independent. For Virginia Republicans, Northam may be transforming into the best of both worlds for them – a governor so damaged, he feels pressure to sign their priorities into law, but who is also simultaneously an albatross to Democrats.

4) Jeff Bezos fights back [excerpts]:

Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.

[…]

From: Howard, Dylan [dhoward@amilink.com] (Chief Content Officer, AMI)
Sent: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 3:33 PM
To: Martin Singer (litigation counsel for Mr. de Becker)
Subject:. Jeff Bezos & Ms. Lauren Sanchez Photos

CONFIDENTIAL & NOT FOR DISTRIBIUTION

[I]n the interests of expediating this situation, and with The Washington Post poised to publish unsubstantiated rumors of The National Enquirer’s initial report, I wanted to describe to you the photos obtained during our newsgathering.

In addition to the “below the belt selfie — otherwise colloquially known as a ‘d*ck pick’” — The Enquirer obtained a further nine images. These include: (very intimate photos of both Bezos and his girlfriend )

It would give no editor pleasure to send this email. I hope common sense can prevail — and quickly.

[…]

In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.

AMI promises to “promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims” made by Bezos”. And now federal prosecutors are reportedly involved and investigating how the National Enquirer handled the story.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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