Fairfax accuser ‘lawyers up’ … but not with just any old legal team

Fairfax accuser ‘lawyers up’ … but not with just any old legal team
Attorney Debra Katz. CNN video

If you read only the headline of an article at NPR out this morning, you learn that Vanessa Tyson, the woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault in 2004, has hired a Washington law firm to represent her. What’s missing from the headline is that the law firm in question — Katz, Marshall and Banks — is the same outfit that worked with Christine Blasey Ford in her efforts to unseat then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, also based on an accusation of sexual misconduct.

The NPR article notes another irony that relates the Fairfax kerfuffle to another scandal currently in the news. That is the scandal currently enveloping Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, who is being bombarded with calls to step down after the emergence of a photo from 1984 that purportedly shows him either in black-face or in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. The connection between him and Fairfax is that Fairfax is (was?) in line to become governor if Northam does resign.

What will be fun going forward is to watch the media’s reaction to Tyson’s choice of legal team. Back when they represented Blasey Ford, The Washington Post dashed off a boosterish article identifying senior partner Debra Katz as “the feared attorney of the #MeToo moment.” The article’s author, Isaac Stanley-Becker, praised Katz as a brilliant law student who had ripened into “a meticulous and battle-tested attorney, as someone who vets her clients carefully and doesn’t take on cases merely because she sympathizes with victims of exploitation and abuse.” Stanley-Becker added:

Yet she’s no political neutral. By her own words, she is part of the resistance against the 45th president.

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It will also be interesting to see how Katz plays her hand now that her role is to take down not only a fellow member of the resistance but one whom the Democrats only days ago were eager to promote to the governor’s mansion.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."