Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has sued CBS News for $400 million over its airing of interviews with women who accused him of sexual assault. Fairfax filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday claiming that CBS News intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him, and that the outlet did not corroborate the women’s stories before they were broadcast. “CBS must be held accountable for its reckless disregard for the truth, knowing failure to follow even rudimentary journalistic standards, and its failure to follow up on leads that would demonstrate the allegations to be false,” a Fairfax spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “His once-promising career and political prospects have been severely harmed” reads the lawsuit.
Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson came forward this year when Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was facing intense criticism for his alleged appearance in a racist college yearbook photo, and it appeared Fairfax might become the state’s next governor. Watson claims Fairfax raped her when they were both students at Duke University, and Tyson alleges that four years later, in 2004, she was sexually assaulted by him at a political convention. Fairfax has admitted to the encounters, but denies they were non-consensual.