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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Photo: Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post/Getty Images

Democratic Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax on Monday unequivocally denied uncorroborated 2004 sexual assault allegations against him, suggesting that it's not a "coincidence" that they resurfaced at this time.

"I don't know precisely where this is coming from ... but here's the thing: Does anybody think it’s any coincidence that on the eve of potentially my being elevated that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out? Does anybody believe it’s a coincidence?" I don't think anybody believes that's a coincidence, again, particularly with something — this is not the first time this was brought up.

Details: Fairfax's remarks came hours after his office issued a statement early Monday denying the assault allegation, which was published Sunday by right-wing Big League Politics, the same outlet that originally published Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's yearbook photo, and was based on a private Facebook post that it claimed had been written by Fairfax's accuser. Both events have pulled the state further into a mounting political chaos.

Between the lines: Here's Fairfax's response when asked whether allies of embattled Northam were behind efforts to block his possible ascension to the state's governorship.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Aides to Fairfax — who's next in line to become governor should Northam resign — said in the statement that the allegation is "false" and that he's considering legal action against "those attempting to spread this defamatory and false allegation."

  • The statement also said the Washington Post probed the claim for several months around the time of Fairfax’s inauguration in January 2018 and declined to publish a story "[a]fter being presented with facts consistent with the Lt. Governor's denial of the allegation, the absence of any evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation."

The Post acknowledged that it had investigated the claims against Fairfax, which allegedly took place at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, but disputed that it had found "significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations."

  • "Fairfax and the woman told different versions of what happened in the hotel room with no one else present."
  • "Fairfax, who was not married at the time, has denied her account through his attorneys and described the encounter as consensual."
  • "The woman described a sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken."
  • "The Washington Post, in phone calls to people who knew Fairfax from college, law school and through political circles, found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman's account — in part because she had not told anyone what happened — The Washington Post did not run a story."

Go deeper: Full list: Everyone who has called for Ralph Northam's resignation

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
20 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

45 mins ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

2 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.