Feb 5, 2019

Former yearbook staffer claims Northam would have had say in photos

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman

In the aftermath of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook going public, William Elwood, who worked on the yearbook layout team for Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1984, told CNN that photos for personal pages "were chosen by the individual student."

The big picture: After initially admitting that he was one of the two people in the racist photo that came out last Friday, Northam backtracked and said he was confident the photo was not of him. At a press conference on Saturday, Northam claimed he had spoken with classmates who said that on numerous occasions, photos were incorrectly posted on the wrong yearbook page, and that he believes that's what happened in this situation.

  • Elwood said it's plausible that someone other than Northam submitted the photo, but "the probability is low unless someone was out to get him and was able to get access to all this stuff." Elwood added that such pictures were typically submitted inside sealed envelopes with students' names on them, and that no one else had complained of photo mix-ups. He also said that the yearbook editor reviewed final pages before publishing, but that he was unsure about any faculty oversight.

Nine of Northam's classmates issued a statement on Tuesday saying they do not believe the governor is one of the two people who appear in the photo.

"We are disgusted by the racist and abhorrent photo published in our 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School Yearbook. We fully believe Governor Ralph Northam is neither of the individuals in those repugnant costumes. We attended classes with the Governor. We socialized with him. We knew him very well. Together we took the Hippocratic Oath and vowed to provide care to anyone, no matter their background or the color of their skin. We do not believe the Governor ever engaged in, promoted, tolerated, or condoned racism. That is not who he is now nor who he was then."

Go deeper: Ralph Northam's yearbook scandal grows with new blackface admission

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Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices closed in correction territory on Thursday, down over 10% from their recent record-highs amid a global market rout.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.