The Latest: Fairfax blasts GOP's proposed public hearing

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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax gestures during the Senate session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Virginia Republicans' plans for a public hearing into the sexual assault allegations made against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (all times local):

3 p.m.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is blasting plans by state House Republicans to have a public hearing where Fairfax and the two women who have accused him of sexual assault can testify.

Fairfax spokeswoman Lauren Burke issued a statement Friday saying House Republicans were proposing the hearing to distract from their recent votes against ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, a gender-equality measure. Fairfax also said Republicans want to pursue an unprecedented action "because the accused is a popularly elected Democrat."

Two women have recently come forward with allegations that Fairfax sexually assaulted them years ago. One of them has already accepted the Republicans' invitation to testify.

Fairfax has denied both accusations and said the matters should be investigated by law enforcement authorities.

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12:32 p.m.

Virginia House Republicans have announced plans to hold a meeting where Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and the two women who have accused him of sexual assault can testify.

Republican Del. Rob Bell said Friday that the House Courts of Justice Committee plans to invite Vanessa Tyson, Meredith Watson and Fairfax for a "chance to be heard" at an unnamed future hearing date.

The two women have recently come forward with allegations that Fairfax, a Democrat, sexually assaulted them years ago. Both women have criticized the General Assembly's handling of their allegations.

Fairfax has denied both accusations and said the matters should be investigated by law enforcement authorities.

Friday's announcement is likely to set off a fierce partisan brawl, as Democrats have strongly resisted calls for the General Assembly to investigate.