An investigation into whether Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appeared in a racist yearbook photo was “inconclusive.”
Independent investigators from the law firm McGuireWoods reviewed documents and interviewed former faculty and students of Eastern Virginia Medical School, but could not find a person who could confirm that Northam was in the racist photo that appeared on his yearbook page. No one who was familiar with the situation came forward to say that Northam was in the photo.
The investigators also interviewed Northam, his wife and his staff.
Investigators could not find the source of the photo, nor could they find any evidence that the photo was put on Northam’s yearbook page in error.
In a statement released today, Northam again denied being in the photo.
“I have cooperated with Richard Cullen and his team over the course of their investigation, both by making myself available for interviews and by turning over the findings of my private inquiry into the matter," he said. "I am not in the racist and offensive photo that appears under my name in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook."
Northam said that he is sorry for initially giving conflicting responses to the story when it first came to light and that he has tried to enact progress on issues of racial equality.
The photo, which appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook, showed two men standing next to each other. One was wearing Ku Klux Klan garb and the other was wearing blackface.
On Feb. 1, Northam admitted to being in the photograph, but on Feb. 2, the governor retracted his statement and said that he has no recollection of being in the photograph. He suggested that it appeared on his page in error. In a Feb. 2 news conference, Northam admitted to once wearing blackface when dressing up as Michael Jackson for a dance competition.
Northam faced calls to resign from Virginia leadership on both sides of the aisle, but he refused to step down.
Two other Democrats in the Virginia executive branch have also faced scandals in the past few months. Lt. Gov. Justin has faced calls for resignation after two women accused him of sexual assault. Attorney General Mark Herring has also faced calls for resignation after admitting that he has also wore blackface.