One week after California professor Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her when they were both in high school, a woman named Deborah Ramirez has come forward with new misconduct allegations against the nominee. According to a new report from the New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, Senate Democrats are investigating Ramirez’s claim, which dates from when she attended Yale University with Kavanaugh during the 1983-84 academic year.
“This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanagh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono told the New Yorker. “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying,” an anonymous aide from another Democratic Senator’s office investigating the claims added.
Farrow and Mayer reported that Republicans also learned about the accusation last week, and that they “issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote” soon after.
Ramirez, 53, and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale at the time of the alleged incident. According to the New Yorker, she was hesitant to come forward because she was drinking at the time the alleged attack occurred.
The New Yorker reports:
Ramirez said that, when both she and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale, she was invited by a friend on the women’s soccer team to a dorm-room party. She recalled that the party took place in a suite at Lawrance Hall, in the part of Yale known as the Old Campus, and that a small group of students decided to play a drinking game together. “We were sitting in a circle,” she said. “People would pick who drank.” Ramirez was chosen repeatedly, she said, and quickly became inebriated. At one point, she said, a male student pointed a gag plastic penis in her direction. Later, she said, she was on the floor, foggy and slurring her words as that male student and another stood nearby. (Ramirez identified the two male onlookers, but, at her request, The New Yorker is not naming them.)
A third male student then exposed himself to her. “I remember a penis being in front of my face,” she said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “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.” [...]
“I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.” Ramirez said that what has stayed with her most forcefully is the memory of laughter at her expense from Kavanaugh and the other students. “It was kind of a joke,” she recalled. “And now it’s clear to me it wasn’t a joke.”
One of Ramirez’ classmates, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the New Yorker that he remembered hearing about the incident in the days after it occurred. He told the magazine that he was “one hundred per cent sure” that Kavanaugh was the person he was told exposed himself to Ramirez.
Other former students remembered similar incidents occurring, and confirmed to the magazine that they recall Kavanaugh’s involvement:
Mark Krasberg, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who was also a member of Kavanaugh and Ramirez’s class at Yale, said Kavanaugh’s college behavior had become a topic of discussion among former Yale students soon after Kavanaugh’s nomination. In one e-mail that Krasberg received in September, the classmate who recalled hearing about the incident with Ramirez alluded to it and wrote that it “would qualify as a sexual assault,” he speculated, “if it’s true.”
College friends of Kavanaugh and the alleged witnesses denied the incident or said they didn’t remember the party.
The White House issued statements from both Kavanaugh and an administration spokesperson in response to the story.
“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,” Kavanaugh’s statement said.
“This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man. This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say. The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh,” White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said.
New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman reported that President Trump was “calm” about the new allegations, and that there was no thought of pulling support for Kavanaugh.
Ramirez told the New Yorker that though she initially blamed herself for the alleged assault, over the years, she’s come to see it differently. “Even if I did drink too much, any person observing it, would they want their daughter, their granddaughter, with a penis in their face, while they’re drinking that much?” she said. “I can say that at fifty-three, but when I was nineteen or twenty I was vulnerable. I didn’t know better.”
“[Kavanaugh’s friends] are accountable for not stopping this,” she added. “[But] what Brett did is worse. What does it mean, that this person has a role in defining women’s rights in our future?”
In addition to the new allegations, the report contains new claims about Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who was allegedly an accomplice to Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Ford. In interviews, he denied any recollection of the events like those Ford described. “I can recall a lot of rough-housing with guys,” he told The Weekly Standard. “I don’t remember any of that stuff going on with girls.”
Elizabeth Rasor, a high school friend of Judge’s who dated him for three years, told the New Yorker that Judge’s previous accounts of his time in high school conflicted with his claim. “I can’t stand by and watch him lie. Mark told me a very different story,” she said. She said she remembered Judge telling her about an alleged incident in which he and other boys took turns having sex with a drunk girl. She said he portrayed the incident as consensual, but she still found it disturbing in light of his comments about his memories of Georgetown Prep. Judge’s attorney “categorically denies” Rasor’s account.
Ramirez told the New Yorker that she was afraid to go public with her story after witnessing the attempts over the last week to discredit Ford. “I’m afraid how this will all come back on me,” she said. Ford has apparently gone into hiding with her family after receiving threats.
Kavanaugh and Ford are both set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Ramirez has not decided whether she would be willing to testify. But she is calling on the FBI to investigate her claims. “At least look at it,” she said. “At least check it out.”
Update, 9:51 pm: Lawyer Michael Avenatti has followed up a tweet where he stated he was working with a third Kavanaugh accuser with a screenshot of an email he sent to Mike Davis, the Chief Counsel for Nominations for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. In the email, Avenatti seems to suggest he has evidence that Kavanaugh and Judge “participate[d] in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them.”
Avenatti is also the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the porn star who was given a payment by President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen in order to keep quiet about an alleged affair between Daniels and Trump. In August, Avenatti said he’s considering running for president in 2020.