Justin Fairfax, Lie Detectors and the Court of Public Opinion
Christine Blasey Ford became a house hold name during the Supreme Court confirmation process of Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh. When it was reported that there was a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s who claimed he sexually assaulted her, Senate Democrats wanted her voice heard during the confirmation hearings. Republicans were cautiously skeptical at the timing and validity of these allegations. To bolster that her claims were true, Blasey Ford took a polygraph test. The test results were released and admitted into record.
The polygraph test was performed by Jeremiah Hanafin. Hanafin worked as a special agent for the FBI from 1985 to 2009 and has conducted over 5000 examinations. While polygraphs are not admissible in court, they do assist law enforcement with narrowing down suspects on the path to the truth. Hanafin concluded that there was no deception in Blasey Ford’s written statement and test…in essence she passed her lie detector test. By contrast Brett Kavanaugh would not take a polygraph test to support his claims of innocence.
In the Court of Public Opinion this proved for many that Blasey Ford was telling the truth about the sexual assault. For supporters of the #metoo movement the allegations and test results were additional examples of how patriarchy, bro and rape culture permeates all levels of institutions in our society. Regardless of Kavanaugh’s denials and subsequent confirmation as the newest member to the highest court in our land; in the Court of Public Opinion, he was guilty and Blasey Ford was vindicated as a brave, honest professional woman with integrity.
After a momentous sweep in the 2018 elections, the state of Virginia’s holy trinity (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General) seats were all won by Democrats. Then in early 2019 scandal happened in the state for Lovers. Yearbook photos of Gov. Ralph Northam in blackface surfaced along with him posing with another person in a KKK robe. There were immediate calls for Northam to resign. That would mean Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax would be Virginia’s second Black male governor. As the push was growing for Northam to kick rocks, Fairfax was hit with not one but two sexual assault allegations. Just as with Republicans who were skeptical at the timing of the Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations during the Kavanaugh hearings, skepticism was here as well.
Some wondered why this didn’t come out during the campaign / elections being that Black democratic candidates were gaining strange support for prominent positions not only in Virginia but also states like Georgia (Stacey Abrams) and Florida (Andrew Gillum).
Fairfax vehemently denies the allegations but took it a step further. Fairfax did what Kavanaugh wouldn’t do and submitted himself to take not one but two polygraph tests. For Fairfax, that still wasn’t good enough. So he went and hired ex-FBI special agent Jeremiah Hanafin from the Ford Kavanaugh hearings to conduct both of his tests. The results from both tests show Fairfax is being truthful in his denials.
I pulled up multiple mainstream websites to view articles concerning Blasey Ford’s polygraph test results from September of 2018 and Fairfax’s polygraph tests from March/April of 2019. I then pulled up their comments section to do a side by side comparison.
For some strange reason the Court of Public Opinion’s consensus says Fairfax passing two polygraph tests are invalid and don’t prove his innocence because polygraph tests are not admissible in courts of law.
Fairfax’s legal team released a statement concerning specific questions that were asked of Fairfax during his examination that read in part:
… if he (Fairfax) engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with Dr. Vanessa Tyson or Meredith Waston, and Fairfax said “no”. The polygraph showed he answered truthfully both times.
Asked if Dr. Vanessa Tyson was crying or showing signs of distress while in the hotel room?
“Was Vanessa Tyson crying at any time while she was in your hotel room?” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered, “no.” “The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.
Hanafin also asked Fairfax about the allegations made by Watson.
“Similarly, in the second polygraph examination, Lt. Governor Fairfax was asked about specific allegations made by Meredith Watson. Ms. Watson has stated that her sexual liaison with Lt. Governor Fairfax in 2000 while they were both students at Duke University was “premeditated rape.” In fact, their interaction was completely consensual. When asked during a polygraph examination, “Did Meredith Watson give you any physical or verbal indication she did not want to have sexual contact with you?,” Lt. Governor Fairfax answered, “no.” The polygraph examination showed that this was a truthful answer.”
The Court of Public Opinion is stating Fairfax passed the tests because he didn’t believe nor feel he committed rape or sexual assault therefor, the answer would not register as reactive. Jeremiah Hanafin asked a very specific question that’s not based on belief or feelings but whether an action did or did not occur; “Was Vanessa Tyson crying at any time while she was in your hotel room?” Either she was crying or not. Fairfax’s feelings has nothing to do with this action of her “crying” nor his answer. He answered, “no”. The polygraph showed he is telling the truth on this specific question.
Both women have made tearful statements to Gayle King in an interview but just like with Brett Kavanaugh neither women will take polygraph tests. When Kavanaugh refused, The Court of Public Opinion said this was a sign of his guilt. When these two women refused, The Court of Public Opinion said, “Leave them alone! The stress of reliving these traumatic events is like they’re being revictimized all over again.” Emphatically, I understand this because who wants to revisit and reveal a sexually traumatic event to the public? Be that as it may, just like in federal and local government courts, the double standards concerning these two very similar situations shows justice within the Court of Public Opinion is not blind.
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