By Margot Cleveland
Christine Blasey Ford’s charge that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago crumpled late Saturday when the final witness Ford identified failed to back her story.
In a Saturday evening email, an attorney representing Ford’s former classmate, Leland Ingham Keyser, stated that his client “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without Dr. Ford.”
Keyser is now the fourth person to refute Ford’s story. Kavanaugh immediately and unequivocally denied Ford’s charge that, while intoxicated, he pushed her into a bedroom, pinned her to a bed, and attempted to rip off her clothing. Kavanaugh also implored the Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing the following day so he could clear himself.
In addition to Kavanaugh, Ford claimed that three other teens were at the party that occurred circa 1982, although she is not sure of the year or location. Ford also said Mark Judge, a friend and Georgetown Preparatory classmate of Kavanaugh, was in the room with her and Kavanaugh at the time of the assault.
Judge refuted Ford’s claim in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, writing “I have no memory of this alleged incident.” “Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described” by Ford, Judge continued. Judge ended his statement by stressing that, while he did not remember the supposed party, he “never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”
Ford also identified another Georgetown Prep student by his initials “PJ,” and later Patrick J. Smyth, a fellow 1983 grad of the North Bethesda, Maryland all-boys school, came forward to respond to Ford’s charge. In a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Smyth said he wrote “to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”
Smyth then added: “Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women.”
While Judge and Smyth’s statements backing up Kavanaugh’s denials could be written off as friends protecting their fellow Georgetown Prep classmate, Keyser’s statement cannot. To the contrary, Keyser’s attorney admitted to CNN that his client was Ford’s life-long friend.
Additionally, as the only other woman supposedly at the gathering, Keyser’s statement may hold more weight with key Republican Sen. Susan Collins, as well as the suburban moms watching what has been portrayed by the media as the latest Me Too reckoning play out just a little over a month before the midterm elections.
While the Senate has now heard from all four witnesses Ford identified, it still has not heard from Ford. Through her lawyers she continues to refuse to testify, calling attempts to hear her side of the story under oath “bullying,” and drawing out negotiations. At her attorney and senators’ behest, Grassley has extended negotiations six times.
Significantly, by submitting statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kavanaugh, Judge, Smyth, and Keyser have all subjected themselves to legal jeopardy under federal law, which makes it a crime to make “any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” to a Senate committee conducting an official investigation.
Maybe that is why Ford’s attorneys are continuing their game of chicken with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and refusing to agree to terms under which Ford will testify.