Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax sued CBS Broadcasting and CBS Corporation Thursday for defamation, seeking $400 million in damages.
The document, reviewed by TheWrap, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. It states, “This defamation suit arises from intentionally fabricated, false, and politically-motivated statements made by Meredith Watson (‘Watson’) and Vanessa Tyson (‘Tyson’) alleging that they were sexually assaulted by Justin Fairfax. CBS published, promoted, and amplified these false statements during separate interviews with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King broadcast by CBS to a national audience on April 1, 2019 (Tyson) and April 2, 2019 (Watson).”
Fairfax’s lawsuit claims CBS “heavily promoted” those interviews, published them online and did it all as part of a “political hit job.”
“Both encounters were entirely consensual,” says the suit. “Yet, 19 and 15 years later, respectively, Watson and Tyson falsely and publicly claimed they had been sexually assaulted by Fairfax, just as Fairfax was poised to ascend to the Governorship of Virginia following a blackface photo scandal affecting current Governor Ralph Northam. The timing and circumstances of these false and salacious allegations demonstrate that it was a political hit job–a deliberate and calculated effort to permanently harm Fairfax’s political and professional career and to attempt to prevent him from becoming Governor of Virginia.”
Northam said in February that he would not resign, despite nearly unanimous calls to do so from fellow Democrats, because he did not believe he was depicted in a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page.
When asked for comment on the lawsuit, CBS made their stance clear. “We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit,” the network told TheWrap.