September 23, 2018

Update on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Investigation into Allegations Involving Supreme Court Nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON – For the last week, the Judiciary Committee has been investigating Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party while in high school approximately 36 years ago. 
 
Dr. Ford first alerted the Ranking Member of her allegations in a letter dated July 30, 2018. The Ranking Member did not disclose the existence of this letter to the Committee or the FBI until September 13, 2018—after Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and a full six weeks after she first received them.  
 
The Committee became aware of the substance of the allegations in media reports the next day.  The Committee also learned from press reports that the person raising the allegations also claimed that Mr. Mark Judge had been in the room when the incident allegedly took place.  Mr. Judge denied those allegations in interviews with the press. Judge Kavanaugh similarly denied the allegations in a written statement.
 
The Committee learned of Dr. Ford’s identity in a Washington Post article on September 16, 2018. The Washington Post article reiterated the claim that Judge Kavanaugh and Mr. Judge were both in the room when the alleged incident took place. We also learned that Dr. Ford alleged that “there were four boys at the party” and that her therapist’s notes referenced in the article also stated that there were four boys at the party (and in the room where the assault took place). Dr. Ford also “named two other teenagers who she said were at the party” in addition to Judge Kavanaugh and Mr. Judge. The article claimed that those two other individuals did not respond to the Post’s inquiries.
 
The Committee did not learn of the actual contents of the letter until CNN published a redacted version of the letter on September 17. We do not know who leaked this letter to the press, notwithstanding Dr. Ford’s request for confidentiality.  Despite revelations of Dr. Ford’s identity, the Ranking Member and Dr. Ford’s attorneys to date still have not publicly released a copy of the original version of the letter or shared it more broadly than the 21 members and senior staff of the Judiciary Committee. The Chairman has repeatedly called for the public release of this hidden evidence.
 
In the course of the Committee’s investigation, it also learned the identities of the four other individuals Dr. Ford claimed were at the party when the incident took place. They were not, however, all boys, as Dr. Ford apparently told her therapist and the Washington Post. The four individuals Dr. Ford claimed attended the party were Judge Kavanaugh, Mr. Judge, Mr. Patrick J. Smyth, and Ms. Leland Ingham Keyser.  The Committee reached out to each person and asked for the opportunity to conduct a confidential interview.
 
Judge Kavanaugh submitted to an interview, where he reiterated his unqualified and categorical denial of Dr. Ford’s allegations.
 
Mr. Judge submitted to the Committee a statement through counsel on September 18 in which he stated: “I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”
 
Mr. Smyth similarly provided a statement to the Committee through counsel on September 19 in which he said “I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”
 
Ms. Keyser stated to the Committee through her counsel last night that she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” News reports identify Ms. Keyser as a lifelong friend of Dr. Ford’s.
 
A former schoolmate of Dr. Ford’s—Ms. Christina King Miranda—claimed on social media posts on September 20 that “[t]his incident did happen, many of us heard about it in school.” Hours later, the Committee reached out to Ms. Miranda and asked her to participate in a confidential interview on Dr. Ford’s allegations with Committee investigators.  Shortly thereafter, however, she deleted her posts and claimed on National Public Radio that she “ha[d] no idea” whether the incident “happened or not.” She further stated that she would not participate in an interview with the Committee.
 
The Committee asked Dr. Ford to participate in a confidential interview with Republican and Democratic Committee staff the day after learning of her identity.  The Committee has reiterated that request over the last week.
 
The Committee has therefore sought information from six individuals—five who were allegedly present at the party when the incident took place, and one who claimed to have secondhand knowledge of the incident.  Four of those allegedly present at the party have provided statements to the Committee—Judge Kavanaugh, Mr. Judge, Mr. Smyth, and Ms. Keyser.  Judge Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegations, and Mr. Judge, Mr. Smyth, and Ms. Keyser deny having knowledge of any party matching Dr. Ford’s description.  Ms. King subsequently recanted her claim of secondhand knowledge and publicly refused to cooperate with the Committee’s investigation. 
 
Dr. Ford is the only first-hand witness not to provide a statement to, or interview with, the Committee. The Committee expects to hear from Dr. Ford at a hearing on Thursday.
 

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