Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Photo: Blueberry Shoes Productions

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has taken a leave of absence as a Morrison & Foerster partner after the law firm retained outside counsel to conduct an investigation into the allegations of sexual assault against him.

Fairfax is cooperating with the investigators, firm chairman Larren Nashelsky said in a statement to The National Law Journal on Friday night. The outside counsel was not disclosed.

“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously,” Nashelsky said. “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.”

Fairfax has been under pressure to resign his public office or face impeachment since two women publicly identified themselves and claimed sexual assault by Fairfax. He has forecefully denied the allegations and retained Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz’s Rakesh Kilaru in Washington after the first claim became public.

Kilaru had no comment by deadline.

Vanessa Tyson, a Scripps College professor, publicly accused Fairfax last week of sexually assaulting her in 2004. Katz, Marshall & Banks attorneys in Washington are assisting Tyson.

Meredith Watson, a Maryland woman, alleged Friday that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2000 when they were students at Duke University. Smith Mullin’s Nancy Erika Smith is representing Watson.


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