More sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh surfaced on Sunday, and all point to a pattern of using alcohol and drugs to take advantage of women at parties.
The first new allegation came from the New Yorker last night. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer report that Kavanaugh's former classmate at Yale University—Deborah Ramirez—has come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a dorm party during the 1983-1984 school year. Ramirez recalled lying on the floor after playing a drinking game that left her "foggy and slurring her words." She recalled a group of male students standing over her, one of whom dangled his penis over her face and instructed her to "kiss it." She recalled pushing the boy away, accidentally touching his penis in the process.
"Brett was laughing," Ramirez said. "I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants. ...Somebody yelled down the hall, 'Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face.' It was his full name. I don't think it was just 'Brett.' And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there." Ramirez emphasized that she spent six days deliberating with an attorney and "carefully assessing her memories" before agreeing to share them publicly, knowing that the involvement of alcohol and her spotty memory would lead people to doubt her account. She did not seek out the press or Senate Democrats, she said; rather, Senators found her.
In a statement to the publication, Kavanaugh unequivocally denied the story. "This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen," he said. "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." (Some of Kavanaugh's classmates, including some who allegedly participated in the misconduct, did defend him in the article; others recalled hearing about the incident and independently offered many of the same details Ramirez did.)
A White House spokesperson called the Ramirez allegations "the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man." Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said that, although he stands by his man and "there is a chance this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything," we will just have to "wait and see how it goes with the Senate."
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) September 24, 2018
But shortly thereafter, a fresh crop of similar accusations came up. Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represents Stormy Daniels, tweeted Sunday evening that he'd taken on a new client: "A woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge," the man Christine Blasey Ford characterized as Kavanaugh's conspirator in the incident that catalyzed this wave of reports. Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh and Judge got "stumbling drunk" and ambushed her at a house party when they were 17 and she was 15, Kavanaugh pinning her down and attempting to rape her before she got away.
I represent a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge. We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify. The nomination must be withdrawn.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 23, 2018
In a series of tweets, Avenatti shared screenshots of emails he'd sent Mike Davis, chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the exchange, Avenatti says he has "significant evidence" from "multiple house parties in the Washington, D.C. area during the early 1980s," suggesting that Kavanaugh, Judge, and other young men "would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a 'train' of men to subsequently gang rape them." He also pointed to an entry in Kavanaugh's yearbook reading "FFFFFFFourthofJuly," which he believes "stands for: Find them, French them, Feel them, Finger them, F*ck them, Forget them," and mention of a "Devil's Triangle."
My e-mail of moments ago with Mike Davis, Chief Counsel for Nominations for U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. We demand that this process be thorough, open and fair, which is what the American public deserves. It must not be rushed and evidence/witnesses must not be hidden. pic.twitter.com/11XLZJBTtY
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh must also be asked about this entry in his yearbook: "FFFFFFFourth of July." We believe that this stands for: Find them, French them, Feel them, Finger them, F*ck them, Forget them. As well as the term "Devil's Triangle." Perhaps Sen. Grassley can ask him. #Basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) September 24, 2018
Avenatti demanded his client receive the opportunity to testify before the Judiciary Committee, and Ramirez requested an FBI investigation. Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, are reportedly investigating allegations against Kavanaugh from his senior year in high school, following a tip from an "anonymous witness" who contacted them over the weekend. According to the Montgomery Sentinel, authorities did not confirm whether their witness was the same woman Avenatti alluded to.
Also on Sunday, Blasey Ford agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday: The obligation that she appear in person have drawn parallels to Anita Hill's treatment during Justice Clarence Thomas's confirmation process. Demanding that Senators listen to survivors this time around, protests have popped up in Washington, D.C. (with accompanying arrests); at Yale Law School; in Palo Alto, where Blasey Ford—a professor in the joint psychology program at Palo Alto University and Stanford—teaches.
— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) September 24, 2018
— Dana Bolger (@danabolger) September 24, 2018
— Washington News Line (@WashNewsLine) September 24, 2018
As the White House continues to shout "smear" and to question the timing of these snowballing allegations just before Kavanaugh's confirmation, it's worth remembering that sexual assault survivors often wait years before sharing their stories, and often feel emboldened—or compelled—to do so once others echo their own experiences. This story is, however, developing, and we will update as more emerges.
UPDATE: In a statement issued Monday, the Montgomery County Police Department said it "has not received a request by any alleged victim nor a victim's attorney to initiate a police report or a criminal investigation regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh," but noted that the Department "stands prepared to assist anyone who reports being the victim of a sexual assault." The Sentinel article's author, Brian Karem, tweeted a clarification, explaining that he "never said Montgomery County was investigating anything," but rather, that area investigators were looking into the matter.
No. We never said Montgomery County was investigating anything. We said the investigators were in Montgomery County. the local PD - as we reported said they would only investigate something if it were brought to them.
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) September 24, 2018