Brett Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate at Yale, James Roche, published an op-ed in Slate on Wednesday night that argues that Kavanaugh explicitly lied and obscured the truth about both his college drinking habits and the slang terms used in his yearbook entry during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday.
Roche, who says he knew both Kavanaugh and his accuser Deborah Ramirez well in college, says that he has previously supported Ramirez and believes her accusations that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party in their dorm. In the op-ed, Roche describes his interactions with New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow, who co-bylined (with Jane Mayer) the piece in which Ramierez first detailed her allegations to the public. Roche also specifically contests parts of Kavanaugh’s testimony where he feels he was untruthful, like his description of the terms “boofing” and “Devil’s Triangle.”
I do not know if Brett attacked Christine Blasey Ford in high school or if he sexually humiliated Debbie in front of a group of people she thought were her friends. But I can say that he lied under oath. He claimed that he occasionally drank too much but never enough to forget details of the night before, never enough to “black out.” He did, regularly. He said that “boofing” was farting and the “Devil’s Triangle” was a drinking game. “Boofing” and “Devil’s Triangle” are sexual references. I know this because I heard Brett and his friends using these terms on multiple occasions.
Roche, like many of Kavanaugh’s peers, seems deeply offended that the nominee was dishonest in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee.
In this case, the lies are not trivial: His lies about sexual terms and his drinking are directly relevant to the accusations of Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez, which both involved sexual behavior and heavy drinking. The truth would make him look bad and would bolster the credibility of both of these women. In this climate, had he simply said “I don’t remember” or even “If I did these things in my youth I am sorry,” he might have sailed through the confirmation process. But he lied, under oath, like it was nothing.
Roche also says he is willing to talk to the FBI, and outlines exactly what he’d tell them.
Now the FBI is investigating this incident. I am willing to speak with them about my experiences at Yale with both Debbie and Brett. I would tell them this: Brett Kavanaugh stood up under oath and lied about his drinking and about the meaning of words in his yearbook. He did so baldly, without hesitation or reservation. In his words and his behavior, Judge Kavanaugh has shown contempt for the truth, for the process, for the rule of law, and for accountability. His willingness to lie to avoid embarrassment throws doubt on his denials about the larger questions of sexual assault. In contrast, I cannot remember ever having a reason to distrust anything, large or small, that I have heard from Debbie.
While this account, and the many others provided by another classmate, Chad Ludington, are certainly damaging to Kavanaugh’s personal reputation, it’s unclear what, if any effect they’ll have on the confirmation process, or the ongoing FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s background. The FBI investigation has been marred by confusion as to who inspectors will and will not be talking to. Key witnesses like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Ramirez, and others have said they’ve had trouble even getting in touch with the FBI. The confidential FBI report will go out to all 100 Senators, but not their staff, on Thursday according to NBC.