Virginia political turmoil could sink 3 top Democrats

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Virginia's Attorney-General has admitted to having worn blackface at a college party and a woman has gone public with detailed allegations of sexual assault against the Lieutenant Governor, deepening the political crisis for Democrats in the USA state.

Meanwhile, the lieutenant governor has been accused of raping a woman at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The party might be loath to oust the three for fear of handing the governor's office over to the Republican legislative leader who is next in line.

"What began as consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault", Tyson, a professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., said in the statement released through her Washington law firm, Katz, Marshall & Banks.

Mr Herring, 57, went public after rumours of a blackface photo of him had circulated at the Capitol for a day or more. Tyson's depiction of events, along with Lt. Governor Fairfax's alleged statement of "f-- that b--", has garnered a lot of media and public attention.

Norment in a statement said he was one of seven people who worked on the yearbook and that he did not appear in or take photos showing people in blackface.

Aides say Scott maintains that Tyson never brought up the allegations in the many years that they have known each other prior to the time period between December 2017 and January 2018. He has since refused to resign, despite growing calls to do so. President Trump referred to Northam's interview during his State of the Union speech, where he bashed the embattled governor for stating "he would execute a baby after birth".

Scott - a Newport News congressman who has represented the Hampton Roads area for decades - said he didn't learn the full scope of the allegation until Tyson released her statement Wednesday.

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Virginia Democrats under fire after another blackface scandal, and sexual assault allegation

"Mr Herring came down hard on Mr Northam when the yearbook photo surfaced, condemning it as "indefensible", profoundly offensive", and "shocking and deeply disappointing".

While almost the entire Democratic establishment rose up against Northam over the past week to demand he resign, party members did not call for immediate resignations over the two latest developments, which threaten to cause a political chain reaction that could make a GOP legislative leader the governor.

Fairfax, who would step in as governor if Northam resigns, said the encounter with Tyson was consensual, that the allegation is false and threatened legal action against Tyson.

On Feb. 1 a conservative news outlet discovered a photo of two individuals dressed in racist attire on Governor Northams medical school yearbook page from his graduation year 1984. "I have to take a breath and think about this". And Al Sharpton, the prominent black activist and television personality, told BuzzFeed News that Herring and Northam should resign and that he'd lead protests against the two politicians.

"This has been a complete debacle", said Virginia-based Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett, who said the early surge of Democratic calls for Northam's resignation were made out of confidence that a Democrat would replace him.

Northam, 59, described the picture as "shocking and horrific" and while initially suggesting he was depicted later denied that he was either of the people in the photo.

Until Wednesday, that is, when Herring said he had worn "brown makeup" at a party in 1980 to impersonate the rapper Kurtis Blow. "He said he was very sorry", Lucas said.

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