WILL ANY NEW INFORMATION EMERGE?
by Sharon Rondeau
Leland Ingham Keyser is said to be a “lifelong” friend of Ford’s.
As events dramatically unfolded on Friday afternoon regarding a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, Republican Jeff Flake revealed that in an agreement he made with committee Democrats, he would vote in the affirmative on the nomination in committee but not necessarily on the Senate floor absent a brief FBI investigation of Ford’s allegation.
Democrats have called for an FBI probe into Ford’s claims ever since she went public with her story on September 16 to The Washington Post. It is as yet unclear if any Senate Democrats would change their vote if the new FBI background check yields no new information, although Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have long said they oppose the nomination on various grounds, prior to Ford’s accusations becoming public.
Kavanaugh was affirmed out of the committee in a party-line vote of 11 Republicans and ten Democrats.
Early Friday evening, Trump acceded to the request and instructed the FBI to open an investigation of Ford’s allegation from 36 years ago to last no longer than a week. Several hours later, Trump tweeted that the probe was already under way.
In a statement, Kavanaugh said he would cooperate with the investigation. as he has in the past.
The three “witnesses” Ford identified through her attorneys prior to her Thursday testimony to the Judiciary Committee have all said in statements through their respective attorneys that they have no recollection of having attended such a gathering. Keyser stated that she does not dispute Ford’s allegation but is not acquainted with Kavanaugh and does not recall having attended any gathering with him where Dr. Ford was or was not present.
Ford has not identified a date, exact place, or time of the alleged incident, although during her testimony, she referred more than once to its having been at “night.”
At age 15 and drinking beer in an unsupervised home, Ford said, she did not wish to inform her parents of what she said happened. She has stated both that the party occurred in the “mid-198s” and “early 1980s,” as noted by special prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who posed questions to Ford in lieu of Republican committee members.
On Friday evening, Ford’s two other alleged witnesses, Mark Judge and PJ Smyth, issued letters through their attorneys stating that they would willingly cooperate with the newly-opened FBI probe.
In his testimony, Kavanaugh affirmed his acquaintance with both Judge and Smyth in high school and beyond. He said that Judge developed an addiction problem and later, leukemia, and that the two have not been in touch for approximately “two years.”
Judges stated that he and Kavanaugh have not been in touch for “several years,” according to Fox News.
During the course of his government work, Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI background checks, making the current one his seventh. He has served as a federal judge for the last dozen years; as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House for five years; within the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez; and as a professor at Harvard Law School whose dean at the time is now U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan.
As a private attorney at Kirkland & Ellis, Kavanaugh worked pro bono for U.S.-based relatives of then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, found by two fishermen on Christmas Day 1999 after his mother and others attempted to secure safe haven in the U.S. from their native Cuba. Gonzalez was ultimately returned to his father in Cuba by the Clinton administration, where he developed a stated deep admiration for dictator Fidel Castro.
Ford testified that a fourth person was at the gathering but that she could not recall his name. During her testimony, Ford said she wanted an FBI investigation so that she could “be more helpful” in assembling the pieces of her story.
Previously, Smyth, Judge and Keyser stated under penalty of felony perjury that they do not recall the party Ford has referenced.
As was stated in 1991 by then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, FBI background checks do not reach conclusions as to anyone’s credibility. Rather, they focus on whether or not there is any indication that the individual has engaged in criminal conduct.
In a vehement and emotional rebuttal Thursday afternoon to Ford’s accusation, Kavanaugh categorically denied ever having assaulted her or anyone. He tearfully stressed that he would defend his family from the menacing emails and threats they have received as well as Ford’s accusation, which he said has likely ruined his reputation, career and his love of coaching his daughters’ basketball team.
Items not raised on Thursday were that Kavanaugh’s mother, an attorney and judge, presided over a foreclosure on Ford’s parents’ home in 1996 and that Ford allegedly told no one about the assault until 2012.
Additional and more bizarre claims against Kavanaugh were made last week prior to Thursday’s testimony; however, the new FBI probe will be limited to Ford’s accusation.
During her questioning of Ford, Mitchell suggested that the optimal way to interview a sexual-assault victim is “in private.” She then asked Ford if either her congresswoman or US senator, whose offices Ford contacted about her allegation in July, ever suggested that she sit for a “forensic interview.”
Appearing to be confused, Ford returned the question with a question, after which Mitchell asked Ford if she had ever undergone a forensic interview about her allegations. Ford responded in the negative.
Other experts support Mitchell’s assertion, and Mitchell has herself implemented a program in Maricopa County, AZ designed to maximize a law-enforcer’s opportunity to glean information from a possible trauma/sexual assault victim.
After Trump announced the new FBI investigation, the Montgomery County, MD authorities said they will open a probe if an alleged victim files a report. In a little-publicized move, Democrat members of the Maryland legislature reportedly sent a letter to the police department last Tuesday asking for an investigation into the claims against Kavanaugh with the contention that “third parties have standing to bring such complaints.”
Within weeks of an Alabama special U.S. Senate election last year, six women came forward to accuse Judge Roy Moore of a range of behaviors, when they were teenagers and he in his early 30s, ranging from flirting to outright sexual assault. Moore, twice elected and removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has no criminal history and was vetted for his public positions by state authorities.
He lost the December election to Democrat Doug Jones, which changed the makeup of the U.S. Senate from 52 Republicans to 51, a razor-thin majority.
In February, accuser Leigh Corfman sued Moore for defamation, claiming that he knew she was telling the truth when she made her allegations public. In turn, Moore counter-sued Corfman.
An article in The New York Times dated April 30, 2018 reported that Moore sued four of his accusers, including Corfman.
This story was updated at 12:57 PM EDT.