- Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
- Christine Blasey Ford,Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick have publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school and college, and another anonymous allegation has surfaced.
- Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
The allegations from three named accusers are from the 1980s, when Kavanaugh was in high school and college, and there are signs of at least one more to come. He has denied each of the accusations.
Though the Trump administration has repeatedly waved off the accusations and defended Kavanaugh, congressional lawmakers are split on how to proceed. Republicans want to get Trump’s Supreme Court pick confirmed, but Democrats have long called for a delay in voting so the FBI can investigate the allegations.
Christine Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh assaulted her in high school
Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, wrote a letter in July to Rep. Anna Eshoo and Sen. Dianne Feinstein that said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in Bethesda, Maryland, when the two were in high school.
On September 16, The Washington Post published an article that identified Ford as the accuser and detailed her allegation that a “stumbling drunk” 17-year-old Kavanaugh pinned her down, put his hand over her mouth, and groped her while his friend watched.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” Ford told The Post of Kavanaugh. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
The Post said it corroborated Ford’s account with an interview with her husband, a lie-detector test from her lawyer, and notes from therapy sessions that included mentions of a “rape attempt” by students from an “elitist boys’ school” who would become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.”
Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge was in the room and said she was able to get away after Judge jumped on them. Judge, now a conservative writer, has said he didn’t doesn’t remember “any of that stuff going on with girls.”
Deborah Ramirez alleges an incident of sexual misconduct in college
On Sunday, a week after The Post published Ford’s account,The New Yorker published an article detailing an allegation from Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh’s who said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dorm-room party during the 1983-84 school year, when he was a freshman.
Ramirez said she was reluctant to come forward because she was drinking at the time of the incident and there are gaps in her memory, though she said she could recall key details.
“I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she told The New Yorker. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.”
Ramirez also recalled another student nearby yelling, “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.”
The New Yorker said that it contacted several classmates but that many didn’t respond, declined to comment, or said they didn’t remember or attend the party.
One classmate said he was 100% sure he heard at the time that Kavanaugh had exposed himself to Ramirez, and the magazine said he independently recalled many details Ramirez had outlined, including that a male student egged Kavanaugh on.
The classmate told The New Yorker he remembered the incident as a “big deal” that had “been on my mind all these years when his name came up.” He also recalled Kavanaugh as being “relatively shy” but someone who could become “aggressive and even belligerent” when drunk.
As of Thursday morning, over 1,200 Yale alumnae had signed a letter in support of Ramirez.
Julie Swetnick says Kavanaugh was present at 1980s parties where she and other women were ‘gang-raped’
Another woman, Julie Swetnick, signed a sworn declaration alleging that she witnessed Kavanaugh and Judge display “abusive and physically aggressive behaviour toward girls” during a series of house parties in the 1980s, where the boys would “spike” punch with drugs or alcohol to cause girls to lose their inhibitions or ability to say “no.”
Swetnick alleges that this was done so that girls could be “gang-raped” by a “train” of boys, and that she was one of the victims.
“I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room,” Swetnick said in her declaration.
Swetnick is being represented by the attorney Michael Avenatti, who has become infamous for representing the porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against Trump, and for considering a 2020 presidential run himself.
Swetnick gave her first on-camera interview to Showtime’s “The Circus,” which is set to air on Sunday. In an interview preview that aired Thursday, Swetnick said she believes her allegations against Kavanaugh should disqualify him for a seat on the Supreme Court.
“He’s going to have that seat for rest of his life. If he’s gonna have that seat legitimately, all these things should be investigated, because from what I experienced first-hand, I don’t think he belongs on the Supreme Court,” she said.
An anonymous letter to a senator laid out another accusation – but lawmakers are sceptical
Senate Republicans have also questioned Kavanaugh about the contents of an anonymous letter sent to Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, which alleges that Kavanaugh physically assaulted a woman in 1998.
The letter-writer alleges that his or her daughter, several friends, and Kavanaugh had been drinking in Washington, DC, when Kavanaugh assaulted one of them in full view of the others.
“When they left the bar (under the influence of alcohol), they were all shocked when Brett Kavanaugh shoved her friend against the wall very aggressively and sexually,” the letter reads.
It goes on to say that the alleged victim and the letter-writer’s daughter both have decided to “remain anonymous.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Senate Judiciary Committee chair, believes there is “no reason to assign the letter credibility,” according to his spokesman, Taylor Foy.
Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Grassley, said there is “no reason to assign the letter credibility.”
“We’re dealing with an anonymous letter about an anonymous person, and anonymous friend,” Kavanaugh reportedly told lawmakers when asked about it, according to NBC News.
Kavanaugh denies the allegations
Kavanaugh has categorically denied each of the allegations in separate statements.
Of Ford’s allegation, he said:
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes – to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
In response to Ramirez’s allegation, he said:
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name – and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building – against these last-minute allegations.”
Of Swetnick’s allegation, Kavanaugh said: “This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”
In response to a question from Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month whether he had ever “committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature” as a legal adult, Kavanaugh said under oath that he hadn’t.
On Monday afternoon, Kavanaugh sent a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the committee, and Feinstein, its ranking Democrat, calling the allegations “smears” that “debase our public discourse.”
“They are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Such grotesque and obvious character assassination – if allowed to succeed – will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service.”
Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Kavanaugh, also gave an interview to Fox News, where he denied each of the allegations. He added that he didn’t necessarily doubt that Ford was a victim of sexual assault – but that he was not the perpetrator.
“The truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise,” Kavanaugh said. “I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone at some place, but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”
Lawmakers are split on next steps
Ford and Kavanaugh are both testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
It’s unclear what will happen after the hearing – certain lawmakers have already said they don’t expect the testimony to change their views on Kavanaugh.
Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News on Sunday that unless new information surfaced, he would vote in favour of Kavanaugh.
“What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation? I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened, and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen,” Graham said.
Senate Democrats have continued to demand the FBI investigate the allegations, while Republicans have already scheduled a vote for Friday.
The Trump administration has repeatedly defended Kavanaugh. Trump has described him as a “fantastic man,” and told reporters during a raucous press conference Wednesday that the multiple allegations against Kavanaugh were a “big fat con job.”
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