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Virginia lawmaker backs off impeachment plan for lieutenant governor

Justin Fairfax
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax speaks to the media in the rotunda at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A Virginia lawmaker is now suggesting he won’t move forward Monday with plans to introduce an impeachment bill seeking the ouster of Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

Democratic Del. Patrick Hope had said he wanted to introduce articles of impeachment Monday against Fairfax after two women recently accused the Democrat of sexual assault in the 2000s. Fairfax has vehemently denied the claims and called for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.

Hope said on Twitter early Monday that he had circulated a draft of the impeachment action with his colleagues and received what he called “an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback.” Hope now says “additional conversations … need to take place before anything is filed.”

Impeachment was always unlikely to happen during this legislative session, but lawmakers could revisit it later this year if the political crisis continues.

The push comes as separate revelations of past racist behavior have upended the two other highest positions in state government. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats, have acknowledged they wore blackface in the 1980s. Northam said Sunday that he won’t resign.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press

Associated Press

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