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LG Fairfax Still on Leave as His Law Firm Investigates




It’s been more than a month since two women came forward with accusations of sexual assault against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Fairfax denies both allegations.


A prosecutor in Boston, where one of the alleged assaults occurred, won’t say whether there’s an ongoing criminal investigation. And since the end of session, Republicans in the legislature have been silent on their plans to hold a legislative hearing.

But there is at least one confirmed investigation, and that’s at Morrison Foerster, the law firm in Northern Virginia where Fairfax is a partner.

The head of the firm told the National Law Journal in February that they’ve hired outside counsel to investigate Fairfax. A spokeswoman for the Lieutenant Governor confirms that investigation is still ongoing and that Fairfax is on leave.

Jackie Ford is an employment lawyer who, for more than 20 years, has conducted sexual harassment investigations. Ford is not involved in the Fairfax case, but as an outside expert says the ultimate question for an employer in this situation is whether the individual in question represents a threat.  

“Does it represent a threat of bad behavior or even criminal behavior toward any of my other employees or clients?” Ford explains, “And does it present the risk of any liability for my organization or both?”

Fords adds that the law firm’s investigation is likely to be broader than just looking into the two allegations against Fairfax, to include his behavior while employed by the firm. She also says hiring outside counsel to investigate is an attempt to be unbiased.

A spokesman for Morrison Foerster firm did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief.
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