News outlet seeks dismissal of lieutenant governor's lawsuit

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments Friday over whether he should toss out a libel lawsuit filed by Virginia's lieutenant governor.

Justin Fairfax sued CBS in federal court in Alexandria after it aired interviews with two women who have accused him of sexual assault.

Fairfax has said the sexual encounters were consensual. He argues that the CBS interviews were one-sided and reported the allegations in a way that implied his guilt.

CBS said its reporting was fair and called the lawsuit an attempt by Fairfax to silence his accusers.

Fairfax, a Democrat, appeared close to assuming the governor's post earlier this year when Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam faced calls to resign after a racist photo was uncovered on his medical-school yearbook page. But the allegations against Fairfax blunted the momentum for Northam's resignation. Both Northam and Fairfax have remained in office, as has Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, who admitted around the same time that he had worn blackface in college.

Fairfax has said the allegations against him were part of a smear campaign to keep him from rising to governor.