Christine Blasey Ford may not have been the only one. A week to the day after the professor’s allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh was made public, the New Yorker published a report from Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer detailing an additional sexual misconduct claim against the Supreme Court nominee. A woman named Deborah Ramirez is alleging that while she and Kavanaugh were freshmen at Yale, he exposed himself to her and pushed his penis in her face, causing her to touch it against her will. The legitimacy of the claim has been disputed, but Ramirez says she is confident of her account.
According to Ramirez, she and Kavanaugh were present at a dorm party where a drinking game that called for people to sit in a circle was taking place. Ramirez kept getting picked to drink, became drunk and eventually another student pulled out a plastic gag penis and pointed it at her. She then remembers being drunk and on the floor, with that student and another next to her. Then, a third, Kavanaugh, 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 pushed him away, touching his penis as she did it. She recognized Kavanaugh as he was pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said, according to the New Yorker. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting that “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.”
Ramirez does admit she was drunk and that there are gaps in her memory, but says she is “confident” of her story. According to the New York Times, however, “Ramirez herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.” None of the “several dozen” people contacted by the Times since they learned of the claim last week had “firsthand knowledge” of the alleged incident, and the New Yorker too was unable to obtain confirmation from anyone present.
But unlike with Ford’s allegation, classmates contacted by the New Yorker have corroborated the incident and its details independently of Ramirez. Others argued that it would have been out of character for Kavanaugh to have exposed himself as described. At the same time, James Roche, a software company CEO who was a roommate of Kavanaugh’s at the time of the alleged incident, said that Kavanaugh was “frequently, incoherently drunk,” and that it was “believable” that he did this. Roche also said that Ramirez was “exceptionally honest and gentle” and that he “cannot imagine her making this up.”
Like Ford, Ramirez has called for a federal investigation. “I would think an FBI investigation would be warranted,” she told the New Yorker.
Kavanaugh’s response was similar to the denial he issued following the accusation from Ford. “This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” he 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.”
The report comes the same day Ford agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Kavanaugh is expected to testify, as well, and on Sunday he provided the committee with calendars he kept in the summer of 1982, when the incident allegedly took place. The idea that a high school student would keep meticulous records of every drunken gathering they attended was widely mocked.
Mom: did u have a party while we were gone
Mom: why is there a beer bottle in my bed
Me: I don’t know. but as you can see I didn’t write any party down in my calendar
Mom: oh. carry on https://t.co/1HdC4rIJ3a
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) September 23, 2018
The agreement to testify comes after a week of negotiating, with Ford calling for a more deliberative process as Republicans pressured her to speak publicly about her assault as soon as possible. On Friday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) imposed a 10 p.m. deadline for Ford to accept or reject the committee’s terms. The ultimatum was viewed as another effort by Senate Republicans to expedite the process unnecessarily. According to the New Yorker, Senior Republican staffers learned of Ramirez’s accusation last week, expressed concern over how it could impact their efforts to confirm Kavanaugh and, soon after, “issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.”
The offices of at least four Senate Democrats received word of the allegation, as well, with at least two of them launching investigations, according to the New Yorker. The report’s publication on Sunday night has renewed calls from Democratic leaders for the FBI to investigate Kavanaugh’s history of alleged sexual assault. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) wrote a letter to Grassley requesting “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.” A spokesperson for Feinstein said the senator was not aware of Ramirez’s accusation prior to the publication of the New Yorker‘s report. A spokesperson for Grassley told the Washington Post that Republicans on the judiciary committee also learned about Ramirez’s accusation only after the report was published.
President Trump reaffirmed his support for Kavanaugh Monday morning at the United Nations. “I think it could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything,” he said. “For people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mention it — all of the sudden it happens. In my opinion, it’s totally political.” “This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man,” White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement. “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.”
On Friday, Trump attacked Ford on Twitter, writing that if the assault is “as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.” The tweet inspired the viral #WhyIDidntReport hashtag, and on Sunday the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network told CNN that “calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline were up 42% on Friday and Saturday compared to an average Friday and Saturday.”
On Monday morning, Kellyanne Conway told CBS This Morning that allegations shouldn’t jeopardize Kavanaugh’s ability to serve on the Supreme Court. “I just don’t think one man’s shoulders should bear decades of the #MeToo movement,” she said.
— Norah O'Donnell🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) September 24, 2018
Though Republicans and the White House have been resolute in their defense of Kavanaugh, there’s still plenty of time for the story to develop between now and when Ford is scheduled to testify on Thursday. Michael Avenatti, the TV-friendly attorney for Stormy Daniels and prospective 2020 presidential candidate, claimed on Sunday that he has clients with pertinent information. “I represent a woman with credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge,” he tweeted. “We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify. The nomination must be withdrawn.” He later clarified that the client is not Ramirez.
In an email sent Sunday to Mike Davis, the judiciary committee’s chief counsel for nominations, Avenatti wrote that he is “are aware of significant evidence of multiple house parties in the Washington, D.C. area during the early 1980s, during which Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge and others would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them.” The same day, Avenatti told Politico that “represent[s] multiple clients” who are witnesses. Though Avenatti’s claim may seem extreme, it isn’t out of line with the culture described by many of Kavanaugh’s contemporaries, including those quoted in the New Yorker‘s report.
"What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep"
– Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh '15
Think of that message now we know of misogynistic culture revealed in Yearbook, and this 👇social scene of rampant sexual assaults described by source in @RonanFarrow @JaneMayerNYer report: pic.twitter.com/BADSpoqUIB
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 24, 2018
Avenatti wrote in his email to Davis that he will provide additional evidence “in the coming days.” In the meantime, Kavanaugh better scrounge up some more calendars.