Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer reported on Sunday evening that a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has come forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with sexual misconduct.

Ramirez, who attended Yale University at the same time as Kavanaugh, said during the 1983-84 academic year when she attended a party. Someone exposed himself in front of her who she states was identified as Brett Kavanaugh. 

Kavanaugh has flatly denied the story and has called it a smear.

Some problems with this story:

  • Rameriez claims “her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident.”
  • She didn’t come forward until she assessed her memories for six days and consulted an attorney. So what did the attorney do for her? Perform hypnosis? 
  •  It seemed as though she did not recognize the student who did this to her, but recollects someone saying it was Brett Kavanaugh.
  • There was no eyewitness confirmation that Kavanaugh was at the party, let alone the act itself.
  • An anonymous source corroborated that he heard about the incident with Kavanaugh which is hearsay.
  • One of the men she said “egged” Kavanaugh on said he does not remember the party and thought Kavanaugh would not do something like that.
  • Another witness said he heard about the incident but did not know who was involved.
  • Another witness just said after Kavanaugh’s nomination was announced Yale classmates talked about his behavior. Strangely, none of this came up even one of the six FBI background checks. 
  • Some of Kavanaugh’s friends and roommates said this never happened and if it did they would have heard about it.
  • A friend of Rameriz said she never spoke to her about the incident.
  • She is a registered Democrat who “works toward human rights, social justice, and social change.”  She insists she didn’t come forward for political reasons.
  • One of her eyewitnesses said he never saw any sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh, but that he did witness him being “frequently, incoherently drunk.” While this may be evidence of him binge drinking in college, it is not evidence of sexual misconduct. 

The story is the product of a leak by Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee:

The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”

Taylor Foy, communications director for the Senate Judiciary Committee and its Chairman, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), denies Republicans knew, “The committee’s majority staff learned the allegations made by Deborah Ramirez about Judge Kavanaugh from this evening’s New Yorker report. Neither she nor her legal representative have contacted the chairman’s office. The article reports that Democratic staff were aware of  these allegations, but they never informed Republican staff.”

Considering the conduct of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that is plausible. 

Then apparently this was pitched to The New York Times who refused to run with the story.

The Times had interviewed several dozen people over the past week in an attempt to corroborate her story, and could find no one with firsthand knowledge. Ms. Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.

The New Yorker‘s piece was a shoddy, poorly sourced piece by any journalistic standard.

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