New allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh come just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford.
In a report in The New Yorker on Sunday, Deborah Ramirez came forward with her claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken party when they were freshmen classmates at Yale University during the 1983-84 school year.
According to The New Yorker report, the accusations were not corroborated by any other attendees at the party, and Ramirez herself admitted to being uncertain that the person who allegedly exposed himself was even Kavanaugh. The New York Times also reported that it had attempted to confirm Ramirez’s accusations, but after interviewing “dozens” of classmates, they were unable to find a single person with first-hand knowledge of the incident. Further, many of those contacted by the Times stated that Ramirez told them she couldn’t be certain that Kavanaugh was the offender.
“I would think an FBI investigation would be warranted,” Ramirez said, according to The New Yorker.
Ramirez told the magazine that she, Kavanaugh and a few other students were playing a drinking game in a dorm room when the alleged incident happened.
Kavanaugh has denied Ramirez’s allegations.
What’s the story?
The 53-year-old woman admitted she was drunk when Kavanaugh allegedly exposed his penis and forced her to touch it without her consent, the magazine said.
“We were sitting in a circle,” Ramirez said. “People would pick who drank.”
Ramirez said she was chosen repeatedly and quickly became drunk and that sometime during the game, a male student pointed a plastic penis toward her.
She ended up on the floor “foggy and slurring her words” as the male student and another stood close by her.
Those two male students were not named in The New Yorker’s story at Ramirez’s request.
“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.”
“That’s not a real penis,” she said she recalled saying while the others laughed at her and encouraged her to “kiss it.”
Ramirez said in the process of pushing the guy away, she touched the penis.
“I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she told the magazine. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.”
According to Ramirez, the penis belonged to Kavanaugh who she alleges was pulling up his pants while he was laughing.
“Brett was laughing,” she 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,’ ” Ramirez 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.”
Are there holes in her story?
The New Yorker has not confirmed Ramirez’s story with the other witnesses who were reportedly at the dorm party.
Ramirez told The New Yorker that she initially hesitated to share her story because there were gaps in her memories of the incident and reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s alleged role with certainty.
But after she consulted with her attorney and spent six days recalling her memories, she “felt confident enough” to come forward.
Ramirez also contacted former classmates who were unable to verify with certainty that Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.
Another male classmate who allegedly egged Ramirez on has denied any memory of the party, according to Fox News.
Six of Kavanaugh’s classmates penned a statement that said this type of behavior would be “completely out of character” for him.
“We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it — and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett,” according to the statement. “In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending.”
One of the women who signed the letter told the magazine that she was “best friends” with Ramirez and had never heard of such an incident.
“We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening,” the woman said, according to Fox News.
What did Kavanaugh say?
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” Kavanaugh said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
What did the White House say?
White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec called Ramirez’s allegation part of a “coordinated smear campaign.”
“This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” Kupec said in a statement to reporters, USA Today reported. “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.”
Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has called on the committee’s Republicans to postpone all proceedings related to Kavanaugh’s nomination and refer Ramirez’s allegation to the FBI.
“I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh,” Feinstein wrote, NPR reported. “I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation, and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims.
“It is time to set politics aside,” Feinstein continued. “We must ensure that a thorough and fair investigation is conducted before moving forward.”