Duke University and Fox Sports are now part of the Justin Fairfax story.
Meredith Watson, who accused Fairfax, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, of raping her at the university in 2000, has accused Corey Maggette (shown), a Fox News analyst who played basketball at Duke, of the same crime. She says she reported the rape to school officials, but they did not investigate it.
Meanwhile, Fairfax’s law firm has placed him on leave and four of his staff members have quit.
Rape at Duke?
Watson’s accusation about Maggette surfaced in the New York Times, which cited a “childhood friend of the woman and Facebook messages the woman exchanged with another friend.”
Maggette, the Times noted, attended Duke in 1998-99, played in a national championship for the Blue Devils, also played for six teams in the NBA until 2013, and then began his career as an analyst for Fox Sports.
Watson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, leveled the accusation about an unnamed Duke basketball player last week. Smith said Watson reported the rape, but that school officials “discouraged her from pursuing the claim further.”
Maggette says he didn’t rape Watson. “It has only been through media accounts and a statement from Meredith Watson’s lawyer that I first learned or heard of anything about these sexual assault allegations,” he said in a statement released to the Times. “I have never sexually assaulted anyone in my life and I completely and categorically deny any such charge.”
Fox Sports put out the usual boilerplate: “Fox Sports takes allegations of misconduct seriously, and we are looking into the matter. We have no further comment at this time.”
Duke admitted it is investigating whether a player raped Watson, the Times reported.
Watson Told Friends About Both Rapes
Just as she told friends at the time that Fairfax raped her, Watson told friends that Maggette raped her. She told one friend about it in 2001, the Times reported.
“Meredith told me she had been raped twice at Duke,” R. Stanton Jones told the Times. “And she told me that one of the men who raped her was the Duke basketball player Corey Maggette. That was a name I knew because I’m a basketball fan.”
Jones is a lawyer at Arnold & Porter, a major law firm in Baltimore.
Watson’s spokeswoman gave the Times a Facebook post from March 2017 between Watson and a friend:
In the messages, Ms. Watson expressed disgust at a newspaper article written about Mr. Fairfax, who had already announced his bid for lieutenant governor. After the friend asked Ms. Watson whether she had reported the rape, Ms. Watson responded: “You know I didn’t report it after how the university responded when I reported Corey Maggette.”
Fairfax in Trouble
Just two weeks ago, Fairfax was poised to take the governor’s chair in Virginia. Ralph Northam was under fire for advocating infanticide, and then a conservative website, Big League Politics, published the blackface photos that appear in Northam’s medical school yearbook.
Northam has denied he is wearing blackface, but it appeared the governor was down for the count and Fairfax was in like Flynn.
But Big League Politics unleashed an even bigger story. It published a Facebook post from Vanessa Tyson, a professor at Stanford University, who suggested Fairfax had sexually assaulted her in 2004 when the two were at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Shortly thereafter, Tyson publicly stated that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex.
Fairfax admitted to a consensual sexual encounter.
Then Watson surfaced to accuse of Fairfax of rape. Friends said she told them about it when it happened in 2002 at Duke.
Both women say they are prepared to testify against him.
Fairfax has steadfastly refused to resign and said he wants the FBI to investigate the accusations.
Democrats in the House of Delegates have backed off a threat to impeach Fairfax, but his position is weakening.
The law firm for which Fairfax works has placed him on leave while it investigates the accusations. “We take the allegations against Justin very seriously. As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity,” said Larren Nashelsky, the chairman of Morrison & Foerster, which is based in San Francisco.
But at least four of Fairfax’s staff members have jumped the lieutenant governor’s sinking ship, the Washington Post reported.
On Friday, two women who work for the lieutenant governor went overboard, while the two individuals who ran his political action committee, We Rise Together, also quit.
2010 photo of Corey Maggette: AP Images