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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

A second woman has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault.

Details: An attorney for Meredith Watson alleges that Fairfax raped her in 2000 while they were both students at Duke University. The attorney called Fairfax's attack "premeditated and aggressive," and said Watson "shared her account of the rape in a series of emails and Facebook messages" that have been preserved. Watson, whose allegation comes days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004, called on the lieutenant governor to resign. Fairfax denies both allegations and says he will not resign.

Statement from Watson's lawyers:

We serve as counsel for Meredith Watson, who was raped by Justin Fairfax in 2000, while they were both students at Duke University. Mr. Fairfax’s attack was premeditated and aggressive. The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship.
Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession. Additionally, we have statements from former classmates corroborating that Ms. Watson immediately told friends that Mr. Fairfax had raped her.
Ms. Watson was upset to learn that Mr. Fairfax raped at least one other woman after he attacked her. The details of Ms. Watson’s attack are similar to those described by Dr. Vanessa Tyson.
At this time, Ms. Watson is reluctantly coming forward out of a strong sense of civic duty and her belief that those seeking or serving in public office should be of the highest character. She has no interest in becoming a media personality or reliving the trauma that has greatly affected her life. Similarly, she is not seeking any financial damages.
On behalf of our client, we have notified Justin Fairfax through his attorneys that Ms. Watson hopes he will resign from public office.

Statement from Fairfax:

"I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever.
I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.
I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before.
It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.
I will not resign."

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

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Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

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