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Republicans, Democrats spar over hearings on Lt. Gov.

February 21, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates says Democrats are blocking efforts to let the two women who have accused Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault share their stories at legislative hearings.

House Speaker Kirk Cox said Thursday that Democrats have dodged his repeated requests to help establish a process where lawmakers could hear directly from Fairfax’s accusers and other key witnesses. Both women have said they are willing to testify.

Democrats said the speaker hasn’t presented a detailed plan for how the hearings would proceed and are concerned about impeding a possible criminal investigation in Massachusetts, where one of the alleged assaults occurred.

Fairfax, a Democrat, has said his encounters with the women were consensual and called the rape accusations part of a political smear.