No conclusive evidence Virginia governor appears in racist yearbook photo, investigation finds

Posted at 3:10 PM, May 22, 2019

It's been 35 years since a racist photo appeared on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page. It's still unclear if he's in it.

The 1984 yearbook photo shows a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Ralph Northam yearbook photo

Eastern Virginia Medical School hired a law firm to conduct an investigation after the photo made national news. The report was released Wednesday.

"With respect to the Photograph on Governor Northam's personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the Photograph," the report states.

The probe into the photo took three months to complete and investigators interviewed more than 50 people.

"No individual that we interviewed has told us from personal knowledge that the Governor is in the Photograph, and no individual with knowledge has come forward to us to report that the Governor is in the Photograph," the report says.

Investigators say they interviewed Northam twice, who at first apologized for appearing in the photo, in both a written statement and in this video.

"I am deeply sorry," Northam said in February, when the photo first surfaced. "I cannot change the decision I made."

But a day later, he denied being in the yearbook photo.

"This was not my picture," Northam said. "I was not in that costume either as blackface or as KKK, and it's not me."

The governor issued a statement Wednesday saying he cooperated with the investigatio and again insisted he is "not in the racist and offensive photo."

Despite calls for him to resign, including from people in his own party, the Democratic governor has managed to keep his job.