The law firm that employs Virginia Lt. Gov.
Justin Fairfax (D) has placed him on leave pending an external investigation into sexual assault allegations leveled against him.
The firm, Morrison & Foerster, announced the decision Friday in a statement first published by the
National Law Journal.
“The firm has retained outside counsel to conduct an investigation. During the investigation, Justin Fairfax has taken a leave of absence from Morrison & Foerster,” Larren Nashelsky, the firm’s chair, said in the statement. “Justin has agreed to cooperate with the firm’s investigation.”
“We take the allegations against Justin very seriously,” Nashelsky continued. “As a firm, we believe that it is important to seriously listen to any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, and to treat all persons making such allegations with respect and sensitivity.”
Virginia’s part-time legislature convenes from January through March. As a result, state lawmakers have full-time jobs outside the Capitol that provide the majority of their income. The same is true of the lieutenant governor, who presides over and breaks ties in the state Senate.
Fairfax, a 39-year-old former federal prosecutor,
left his job as a white-collar defense attorney at Venable in northern Virginia in January, and joined Morrison & Foerster in September.
Two women have accused Fairfax of sexual assault. The more recent allegation emerged on Friday, when Meredith Watson
accused Fairfax of raping her when the two were classmates at Duke University in 2000.
Days earlier, Vanessa Tyson, who met Fairfax at the Democratic National Convention in 2004,
publicly accused Fairfax of physically coercing her into performing oral sex during an encounter that began as consensual. Tyson said she was moved to come forward when it appeared that Fairfax might replace embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D).
under pressure to resign after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page surfaced on Feb. 1. Northam initially indicated that he was in the photo, which shows a person wearing blackface next to someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan uniform. But the following day, he denied that either person in the photo was him. He has since refused to resign.
Fairfax has vehemently denied the sexual assault allegations against him. But after Watson made her allegation on Friday, state-level and national Democrats, many of whom had been taking a wait-and-see approach, demanded Fairfax’s resignation en masse.
An attorney for Tyson has said she is prepared to testify at any impeachment proceedings against Fairfax. Virginia Del. Patrick Hope (D) raised the prospect of initiating an impeachment process against Fairfax on Sunday, but
has since said that “additional conversations need to take place” first. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Washington Examiner first reported on Morrison & Foerster’s decision to place Fairfax on leave. It was the National Law Journal. Also on HuffPost ALABAMA STATE CAPITOL Montgomery, Alabama Year completed: 1851 Architectural style: Greek Revival FYI: A bronze star marks the spot where Jefferson Davis, newly named president of the Confederate States of America, gave his inaugural address. Visit: Guided tours are offered on Saturdays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 pm. More ALASKA STATE CAPITOL Juneau, Alaska Year completed: 1931 Architectural style: Art Deco FYI: The limestone and marble used to construct the building’s facade is also native to Alaska—it hails from the Prince of Wales Island. Visit: Guided tours are available from mid-May to mid-September, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. More MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE Boston, Massachusetts Year completed: 1798 Architectural style: Federal FYI: The gleaming dome of the Massachusetts State House was not always metal. The original wooden topper leaked, so it was remodeled and covered in copper by a noteworthy company: Paul Revere and Sons. Visit: Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are required. More ARIZONA STATE CAPITOL MUSEUM Phoenix, Arizona Year completed: 1900 Architectural style: Classical Revival FYI: The building, once home to the territorial government, is now a museum dedicated to the history of Arizona. The governor’s office and state House and Senate floors are located in other buildings in the same complex off Wesley Bolin Plaza. Visit: The museum exhibits are open from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with staff available to answer questions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Or, reserve a guided tour (from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) More ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL Little Rock, Arkansas Year completed: 1915 Architectural style: Neo-Classical FYI: Don’t forget to look up. The rotunda of the capitol is a 17-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide brass chandelier made by Mitchell Vance and Company. Keep an eye out for decorative elements, such as an eagle perched on top of the Liberty Bell. Visit: Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations are encouraged. More CALIFORNIA STATE CAPITOL AND CAPITOL MUSEUM Sacramento, California Year completed: 1874 Architectural style: Neo-Classical FYI: Look for Minerva. You’ll find the Roman goddess pictured in the Great Seal, on tile groupings on the floor, peering down from arches leading to the second-floor rotunda walkway, and the pediment in the building’s exterior. According to myth, Minerva was born fully grown, the way California became a state without first being a territory. Visit: Public tours leave on the hour daily, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More COLORADO STATE CAPITOL Denver, Colorado Year completed: 1893 Architectural style: Neo-Classical FYI: In the capitol’s rotunda, 16 stained glass windows depict the state’s “Hall of Fame,” which includes figures such as frontiersman Kit Carson and Alexander Majors, co-founder of the firm that established the Pony Express. Visit: Historical tours leave hourly Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The House and Senate chambers open for tours mid-January to mid-May (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Gallery guides are on hand to answer any questions. More CONNECTICUT STATE CAPITOL Hartford, Connecticut Year completed: 1879 Architectural style: Eastlake FYI: An 18-foot bronze statue of a winged woman, titled The Genius of Connecticut, resides in the capitol rotunda. It’s a replacement for the statue that once sat at the top of the capitol dome, but was destroyed by a hurricane in 1938. Lasers scanned the original plaster model to make a mold for the new version. Visit: Weekday tours leave hourly from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. In July and August, a 2:15 p.m. slot opens up. More DELAWARE LEGISLATIVE HALL Dover, Delaware Year completed: 1933 Architectural style: Georgian Revival FYI: In addition to the current government building, you can visit The Old State House in Delaware. The Georgian-style building was the seat of government from 1791 until 1933, when operations moved to their current digs. Visit: Make reservations for guided tours (non-session weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in-session weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.). Additional tours are available the first Saturday of each month and on some holidays. More SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE Columbia, South Carolina Year completed: 1903 Architectural style: Greek Revival FYI: On the outside of the capitol, six bronze, star-shaped markers denote the spots where the building was hit with artillery during General Sherman’s Civil War march. Visit: Guided tours are offered weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are recommended for groups. More FLORIDA STATE CAPITOL Tallahassee, Florida Year completed: 1977 Architectural style: New Classicism FYI: The current 22-story state capitol towers over its predecessor, a Classical Revival building completed in 1845 that is now the Florida Historic Capitol Museum. Try to spot it from the new capitol’s observation deck, located on the 22nd floor, 307 feet in the air. Visit: Self-guided tours are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for weekday holidays. Groups of 15 people or more can arrange a guided tour during the week. More GEORGIA STATE CAPITOL Atlanta, Georgia Year completed: 1889 Architectural style: Neo-Classical/Renaissance Revival FYI: The Georgia Capitol Museum, the on-site museum dedicated to the history of the state, has existed within the Capitol walls for just about as long as the building has been around. It moved into its fourth-floor headquarters in 1890. Visit: Reservations are usually required for the weekday guided tours. January through April, they leave at 9:30 a.m, 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. From May to December, there are three tours each weekday: 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. No reservations are required for the day’s last tour, but each time slot has a slightly different focus, so check the website for details. More HAWAI'I STATE CAPITOL Honolulu, Hawaii Year completed: 1969 Architectural style: Hawaiian International FYI: The eight columns in the front and back of the building are supposed to represent the eight islands of Hawaii, and the curved walls of the legislative houses recall the state’s volcanoes. Visit: Scope out the capital on your own on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (except for holidays), or arrange a guided tour through the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services. More IDAHO STATE CAPITOL Boise, Idaho Year completed: 1912 Architectural style: Neo-Classical FYI: The Idaho State Capitol has the nickname “The Capitol of Light” for the way architect John E. Tourtellotte used shafts, skylights, and reflective marble to illuminate the interior of the building. Today, it’s the only capitol building heated by geothermal water. Visit: During legislative sessions, you can visit on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. Visiting hours during the interim are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Guided tours are available from groups of 10 to 100. More ILLINOIS STATE CAPITOL Springfield, Illinois Year completed: 1889 Architectural style: French Renaissance FYI: Before it became the site of the capitol, the location—the highest in Springfield—was proposed as a burial place for Abraham Lincoln. Mary Todd Lincoln wanted him buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery instead. Visit: The capitol is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Coordinate group tours through the Physical Services department. More INDIANA STATEHOUSE Indianapolis, Indiana Year Completed: 1888 Architectural style: Renaissance Revival FYI: Many capitol buildings feature a dome or rotunda, but the Indiana Statehouse has three: a rotunda, topped by a smaller dome, with an even smaller sphere at the very top. The room inside the middle dome is painted white so the colors of the stained glass windows reflect on the walls. Visit: Guided tours leave the rotunda on Saturdays at 10:15 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. More IOWA STATE CAPITOL Des Moines, Iowa Year completed: 1886 Architectural style: Renaissance FYI: The Iowa State Capitol has something for fashion lovers as well as history buffs: glass cases inside the first floor of the capitol building display 42 dolls—one for each governor’s wife—wearing a replica of the dress she wore to the inaugural ball. Visit: Guided tours leave Monday through Friday at various times. On Saturdays, tours depart every hour from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. More KANSAS STATE CAPITOL Topeka, Kansas Year completed: 1903 Architectural style: French Renaissance FYI: In 1901, sculptor J.H. Mahoney won a design contest for his 16-foot statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, to be placed on top of the capitol dome. People balked at both the price and the idea of a pagan goddess topping the capitol, so the dome went unadorned until 2002. After a new competition was held, Richard Bergen's bronze Ad Astra—a sculpture of a Kansa warrior—was installed. Visit: Guided tours depart on weekdays: January through May, 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.; June through August, 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m.; September through December, 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. More KENTUCKY STATE CAPITOL Frankfort, Kentucky Year completed: 1910 Architectural style: Beaux-Arts FYI: Inside the building, two oil murals by artist T. Gilbert White depict Kentucky’s most famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone. One shows Boone and his party as they first discover the area; the second shows him at the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, purchasing the land that eventually became the state. Visit: The capitol is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call the office for information on guided tours. More LOUISIANA STATE CAPITOL Baton Rouge, Louisiana Year completed: 1932 Architectural style: Art Deco FYI: You approach the capitol via a grand, 48-step staircase—one stair for every state in the union (with an amendment for Alaska and Hawaii). But don’t let that be the highest you get on your visit. The Louisiana State Capitol has an observation deck on its 27th floor, 350 feet above ground. (It is the tallest state capitol building, after all.) Visit: The building is open from 9 a.m. 4 p.m. daily, except for major holidays. More MAINE STATE HOUSE Augusta, Maine Year completed: 1832 Architectural style: Greek Revival FYI: The portico and front and rear walls are all that remain of the original, 1832 structure (designed by architect Charles Bullfinch). A major remodel in 1909–1910 enlarged the wings of the building and replaced the building’s original dome with a more elongated one. Visit: Arrange a guided tour through the Maine State Museum, or check it out yourself Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More MARYLAND STATE HOUSE Annapolis, Maryland Year Completed: 1797 Architectural Style: Georgian FYI: The Maryland State House has been holding government meetings for more than two centuries. The Continental Congress actually met in the building’s Old Senate Chambers in 1783 and 1784. Visit: The capitol is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Christmas and New Year's Day. The Office of Interpretation will arrange specialized, curatorial tours of the building and its artwork. More MICHIGAN STATE HOUSE Lansing, Michigan Year completed: 1879 Architectural style: Neo-Classical FYI: Don’t let the faux marble pillars and walnut wainscoting trick your eyes—decorative painting techniques cover up the fact that the capitol building was made with more inexpensive materials, such as cast iron and pine. Visit: Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour times vary. More MINNESOTA STATE CAPITOL St. Paul, Minnesota Year completed: 1905 Architectural style: Beaux-Arts FYI: Famed architect (and Minnesotan) Cass Gilbert designed the capitol—before he blueprinted the United States Supreme Court building. Visit: Hourly guided tours are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 pm; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. More SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE Columbia, South Carolina Year completed: 1903 Architectural style: Greek Revival FYI: On the outside of the capitol, six bronze, star-shaped markers denote the spots where the building was hit with artillery during General Sherman’s Civil War march. Visit: Guided tours are offered weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are recommended for groups. More MISSISSIPPI STATE CAPITOL Jackson, Mississippi Year completed: 1903 Architectural style: Beaux-Arts FYI: There are 750 lights in the capitol's rotunda alone. That makes it easy to see the figure of Blind Justice, as well as scenes of two Indians, a Spanish explorer, and a Confederate general. Visit: Guided tours depart Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More MISSOURI STATE CAPITOL Jefferson City, Missouri Year completed: 1917 Architectural style: Classical Revival FYI: The first floor of the capitol houses the Missouri State Museum, with exhibits detailing the state’s cultural and natural history. But that's not the only place to find interesting artifacts. In the buildings and around the grounds, look for James Earle Fraser’s 13-foot statue of Thomas Jefferson, Karl Bitter's bronze relief of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, a frieze by Alexander Stirling Calder (father of th famed mobile-maker of the same name), and Thomas Hart Benton’s murals of everyday Missouri life. Visit: The Missouri State Museum offers free guided tours every 20 minutes, beginning at the top of the hour, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except for noon). June through February, tours leave every half hour, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (excluding a 12 p.m. lunch break). More MONTANA STATE CAPITOL Helena, Montana Year completed: 1902 Architectural style: Neo-Classical FYI: When the Capitol underwent an expansion in 1909, a conscious decision was made to feature art by Montana-based artists, including Charles M. Russell (his Piegans sold at auction for $5.6 million in 2005) and Edgar S. Paxson (known for painting Custer's Last Stand), among others. Visit: The Montana Historical Society offers guided tours. From May through September, tours leave on the hour (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Monday through Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. From October through April, tours are only on Saturdays and leave on the hour from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. When the legislature is in session (odd numbered years), hourly tours are also offered from January through April, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More NEBRASKA STATE CAPITOL Lincoln, Nebraska Year completed: 1932 Architectural style: Streamline Moderne FYI: Don’t forget to look down. Hildreth Meire’s mosaics decorate both the ceiling and the floor of the building. Although Meire worked on the National Academy of Science in Washington D.C. and St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, she called the Nebraska capitol her crowning achievement. Visit: Guided tours are available every hour on the hour (except noon): Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and holidays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. More NEVADA STATE CAPITOL Carson City, Nevada Year completed: 1871 Architectural style: Neo-Classical Italianate FYI: After Nevada became a state, the constitutional convention made a provision that no state capitol would be built until after three legislative sessions, in case future leaders wanted to move the center of government away from Carson City. A ten-acre site set aside for the building remained empty. In his book Roughing It, Mark Twain describes the empty plaza as a useful spot for “public auctions, horse trades, mass meetings, and likewise for teamsters to camp in.” Visit: The capitol is open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (it is closed on weekends). Call the Education Program at the Nevada State Museum to arrange guided tours. More NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE Concord, New Hampshire Year completed: 1819 Architectural style: Greek Revival FYI: The stately eagle installed on top of the New Hampshire State House’s dome may look gold, but it’s actually painted wood. The original was removed for preservation and is on display at the New Hampshire Historical Society. A new, gold-leafed eagle was put in its place in the 1950s. Visit: Self-guided tours are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Arrange guided tours through the Visitors’ Center. More NEW JERSEY STATE HOUSE Trenton, New Jersey Year completed: 1792 (original structure) Architectural style: Various FYI: The New Jersey State House has always been a work in progress. The original building was first completed in 1792, and a few extensions were added shortly after. In 1885, a fire destroyed a portion of the State House, which was rebuilt in the Second Empire style with a new rotunda and dome. In the 1890s, a Victorian-style addition was made to the Assembly wing. Then in 1903, the Senate wing was renovated in the American Renaissance style. A four-story office was added three years later; it finally reached its present size in 1911, and so on... Visit: Guided tours leave hourly Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as the first and third Saturday of each month (12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) The State House is closed Sundays and on state holidays. More NEW MEXICO STATE CAPITOL Santa Fe, New Mexico Year completed: 1966 Architectural style: New Mexico Territorial/Greek Revival FYI: New Mexico’s Capitol is the only one housed in a completely round building, earning it the nickname “The Roundhouse.” When seen from above, the shape is meant to evoke the Zia sun symbol. Visit: Tour the capital on your own Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guided tours are available by appointment. More NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL Albany, New York Year completed: 1899 Architectural style: Italian Renaissance/French Renaissance/Romanesque FYI: The Western staircase inside New York’s capitol has been dubbed the “Million Dollar Staircase,” because it cost more than a million dollars to build—in the late-1800s, no less. The 444 steps took 14 years to complete, and more than 500 stonecutters and carvers earned $5 a day to work on the project. The staircase’s main feature is 77 carvings of faces, which include prominent Americans such as Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony, as well as images of the carvers’ friends and relatives. Visit: Guided tours are available Monday to Friday (excluding holidays). Tour times vary; call the Office of General Services—Visitor Assistance for more information. More NORTH CAROLINA STATE CAPITOL Raleigh, North Carolina Year completed: 1840 Architectural style: Greek Revival FYI: The North Carolina State Capitol boasts two impressive statues of George Washington. Outside on the grounds sits a bronze statue cast from a mold of Jean-Antoine Houdon's statue of George Washington in Richmond, Virginia. At the focal point in the rotunda, there's a copy of a statute that stood at North Carolina’s previous state capitol until 1831. The Italian sculptor, Antionio Canova, carved George with a Roman general’s uniform and haircut—and he’s writing in Italian. Visit: Self-guided tours are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 pm; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours for groups of 10 can be scheduled through Capital Area Visitor Services. More Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.