The Jury Talks Back

9/17/2018

Brett Kavanaugh’s Accuser Goes On Record

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 8:28 am

[guest post by Dana]

Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford has gone on the record:

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.

There was no police report filed, and she did not tell her parents about the incident, nor anyone else, until 2012 when it came up during couples therapy:

The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.

Ford’s husband backed up his wife’s claims:

In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, said that in the 2012 sessions, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He said he recalled that his wife used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.

This is a horrible situation with a very serious accusation being made. So serious that it will leave Ford and Kavanaugh, and their respective families damaged as a result. None of this can be undone. Ever. Even if the accusation is proven to be false, the damage to Kavanaugh is already set. Instead of “An honorable man was falsely accused of sexual misconduct,” the story will be misleadingly limited to “A wealthy, powerful judge faced serious questions about attempted rape.” It will be inescapable for all of the Kavanaughs. And if the accusation pans out and Ford’s story stands up to serious scrutiny, then Ford, who would have already suffered for decades, will be reliving the incident all over again, and this time on a public stage.

On top of this, there is a whole lot of stink to go around. Feinstein cynically decided to use an alleged sexual assault as a political weapon. Here is her latest statement, which doesn’t ring true to me because her actions don’t back up her claims of how very seriously she takes accusations of sexual assault, when one recalls that she sat on the information for two months, and that she never questioned Kavanaugh about the accusation, whether privately or while he was under oath. Also, if she really believed the matter should be treated with an extreme level of seriousness, would she have redacted the accuser’s name so that even the FBI didn’t know who she was?

“It has always been Mrs. Ford’s decision whether to come forward publicly. For any woman, sharing an experience involving sexual assault—particularly when it involves a politically connected man with influence, authority and power—is extraordinarily difficult.

“From the outset, I have believed these allegations were extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character. However, as we have seen over the past few days, they also come at a price for the victim. I hope the attacks and shaming of her will stop and this will be treated with the seriousness it deserves.

“I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee.”

(Note: according to this report, given that the “FBI doesn’t plan to investigate the allegation as a criminal matter, […] Feinstein wants the bureau to review it as part of Kavanaugh’s background check.”) Amusingly, and without an ounce of self-awareness, , Feinstein also said that “the FBI should have the time it needs to investigate this new material.” And again, how does Feinstein say this with a straight face, given that she held onto the “new material” for two months? Wouldn’t that have provided the FBI with the time they needed to investigate? While the Democrats are clamoring for a delay in the vote because time is needed for an investigation, it was Feinstein herself who delayed any timely investigation from taking place.

There is also a lot of stink concerning Harris, Booker, and the professional Left, all of whom made concerted efforts to smear Kavanaugh during the hearings and lie about him. And even when shown to be lies, they were repeatedly pushed.

So now an accuser who has come forward to tell her story. It does not sound fantastical nor absurd. It sounds possible. But it is an accusation without any corroboration or eyewitnesses. Until then, it remains just an accusation which involves three individuals, with two of them denying it happened. We need to hear more in order to make a clear and accurate assessment of what happened, and to test her story to see if it holds water. With that, the political aspect for a long term impact going forward should not be ignored: “At this point, the GOP has to go to the wall for Kavanaugh or the Dems will have fully weaponized mere allegations as a method to destroy credible nominees. The precedent would be set and be too dangerous to future nominees. And we know the Dems would defend their own.”

As for the GOP, there is no indication that the vote will be delayed.

Brett Kavanaugh released a statement this morning:

This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes – to her or to anyone.

Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.

I am wiling to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.

With regard to Ford, her attorney said this:

“Her recollection of these events is crystal clear,” Ford’s attorney Lisa Banks told Morning Edition. “She will agree to participate in any proceedings that she’s asked to participate in.”

I’ll end the post with this sharp bit of observation regarding where we are at now and how to test the veracity of the claim made against Kavanaugh. Read the whole thing:

Yet unless all parties start telling the same story, there is no way to know for certain if this event occurred. We don’t need certainty, however, to make a decision on whether a man should sit on the Supreme Court. I have the same standard for Brett Kavanaugh as I did for Roy Moore, for Donald Trump, for Bill Clinton — or for any other politician who’s accused of misconduct. Is it more likely than not that the allegation is true?

Given the totality of the evidence, I believe it is more likely than not that Bill Clinton committed rape and sexual harassment. I believe it is more likely than not that Donald Trump has committed sexual assault. I believe it is more likely than not that Roy Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with underage girls. But the evidence against Kavanaugh falls far short of the evidence arrayed against each of these men. So far at least it falls far short of the evidence against virtually any other politician or celebrity who has faced consequences during this #MeToo moment.

–Dana

47 Comments »

  1. I find this issue to be very tough. In my mind there are a few things that reasonable people might disagree.

    1) Did it happen?

    I think it very likely did. I’d put 5:1 odds on the events occurring very near to what the alleged victim recounts. However, I think it’s reasonable if other people who have experienced different life events to think otherwise.

    2) Whether or not it did happen, what level of certainty must we as a populace have before disqualifying someone from a position?

    My opinion is that it certainly doesn’t need to be as high as we would want to send someone to jail, but probably substantially more than preponderance of the evidence.

    3) Is a sexual assault a disqualifying event even if it occurred? Does the time-frame matter?

    If this sexual assault occurred, I’m not sure reasonable people will come to the same conclusion about whether it should be disqualifying. I’m not sure where I stand on that. I’m not worried that he is going to assault more people at this time in his life. I’m not sure I believe in retributive justice at all. On the other hand, it sends an awfully ugly message to both victims and would-be perpetrators in the here and now if we brush this off in our highest offices.

    4) Do different positions bear different levels of scrutiny? Do some acts/certainty disqualify from some positions but not others? Where does Supreme Court Justice fall?

    I would say that the Supreme Court probably has a higher standard than most. Honestly, it bothers me more that a Justice might have substantially violated the law than that Trump may have.

    This is an ugly situation. I feel for the victim, who is almost certainly going to get death threats upon going public.

    Comment by Nathan — 9/17/2018 @ 5:37 pm

  2. It’s well to bring up Roy Moore, because on of the allegations against him was rather clearly fabricated; the one involving the yearbook. That accuser was represented by Gloria Aldred, so that it was a fraud is far from surprising.

    My point isn’t that Moore was innocent; I don’t think he is, I think some of the accusers were telling the truth. I also think he’s a raving lunatic. But, none of the aforementioned changes the issue that one of the charges against him was fabricated – something Democrats have a history of doing.

    The reason I bring this up is it looks like it’s happening again, only this time, the only charge is fabricated. As Dana points out, the timing is suspicious as heck, especially on Feinstein’s part. If this was legitimate, why sit on it for months?

    There’s also the little detail that the accuser, Ford, has a history that brings her veracity into doubt; Judge Kavenaugh’s mother, also a judge, ruled against the accuser’s parents in a foreclosure case in 1996 (And I do not believe in coincidences). She’s also, reportedly, a leftist.

    I’m also rather perplexed regarding the accusation itself; it claims that Kavenaugh’s friend allowed her to escape by jumping on top of them both. That just sounds very odd.

    My guess; if this accusation falls apart, they’ll morph it a bit. It’ll no longer be a case of assault, but it will shift focus to be about Kavenaugh’s criminal activities. Because if indeed he was drunk while 17, he was committing a crime. (Stop the presses! A teenager drank alcohol 30 years ago!).

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 9/17/2018 @ 7:39 pm

  3. “Hey everyone, I was assaulted some 30 years ago, don’t exactly know when, or where, or how I ended up in that situation, but my memory of events is ‘crystal clear’ because 30 year old memories are infallible and I know for a fact it’s that man there that did it to me!”

    Yup, sounds credible.

    Comment by Sean — 9/18/2018 @ 5:50 am

  4. Also, does anyone know if the early reports that she deleted ALL of her social media accounts before going public is true?

    Comment by Sean — 9/18/2018 @ 5:50 am

  5. I saw that, too. I don’t know if it is true but it is curious. I’d like to know when it happened. My guess is about the time she hired an attorney.

    PS – 3 is hilarious.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/18/2018 @ 2:54 pm

  6. “Hey everyone, I was assaulted some 30 years ago, don’t exactly know when, or where, or how I ended up in that situation, but my memory of events is ‘crystal clear’ because 30 year old memories are infallible and I know for a fact it’s that man there that did it to me!”

    Naturally any questioning of Ms. Ford that doesn’t take her accusations as gospel truth will be harshly criticized by the feminist left, but I would still want to take her down this line of questioning:

    You say you don’t remember where exactly the party was. How did you find out about it?

    Did you know the person who lived in the home at the time of the party? If so, how were you acquainted?

    Did you know Brett Kavanaugh before this party? If you had not been introduced to him yet, did you know him by reputation? If so, what had you been told about him?

    Did you recognize Brett Kavanaugh on sight, either from a previous acquaintance with him or from what you had been told about him? Were you introduced to him at the party prior to your alleged encounter in the bedroom? If so, what do you recall about that? Were you introduced to the other three young men at the party?

    How can you be sure that it was Brett Kavanaugh who was allegedly in the bedroom with you? Did you ever see him again after that? Did you ever have any verbal exchange with him or even a nod of recognition upon seeing him?

    Comment by JVW — 9/18/2018 @ 3:29 pm

  7. I hope we see the questioning. It may happen behind closed doors.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/18/2018 @ 3:53 pm

  8. I don’t mind having the questioning done behind closed doors. It would hopefully dissuade Kalama Harris and Corey Booker from their obnoxious grandstanding, and it might lead Senators to simply turn over the questioning to counsel. Of course, I would demand that a transcript of the questioning be immediately released so we can read what the main players had to say.

    Comment by JVW — 9/18/2018 @ 4:05 pm

  9. Good point, but I don’t think it will change anything. The Senators’ questions and monologues are the point, not the witnesses’ answers.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/18/2018 @ 4:20 pm

  10. > She’s also, reportedly, a leftist.

    Is that per se enough to discredit her?

    Comment by aphrael — 9/18/2018 @ 4:50 pm

  11. Deleting her personal social media accounts seems wise. Likely, in this climate, she’s going to be in for an insane amount of vitriolic abuse from hateful people on the internet, and removing her social media is a pre-emptive strike to protect herself from it.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/18/2018 @ 4:51 pm

  12. Or she could quit reading the internet, especially since she no longer uses social media.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/18/2018 @ 6:53 pm

  13. She’s getting it in personal physical mail, too. (Note/Disclaimer: I have a friend who is part of a volunteer group sorting that mail so that she’s shielded from the worst of it).

    Comment by aphrael — 9/18/2018 @ 7:05 pm

  14. I get it. It is not fun. But this is what SCOTUS politics is since Borking was invented. Whose fault is it, aphrael?

    Comment by DRJ — 9/18/2018 @ 7:23 pm

  15. @aphrael
    “>> She’s also, reportedly, a leftist.”

    “>Is that per se enough to discredit her?”

    In this context, yes, due to motive. I didn’t say “Democrat”, but a leftist (meaning socialist or similar), and I’d certainly question the integrity of, say, a Nazi (A slightly different flavor of socialist) making such claims of a Jewish public figure, for exactly the same reasons.

    ***************

    Regarding her reportedly deleting her social media, that’s one thing I don’t find suspicious in and of itself. It’s a given that the press and others will want to comb through it, taking things out of context, etc, so deleting makes sense (Which merely means it’s not suspicious in and of itself, not that it’s a given that it’s an innocent action).

    Also, is there any evidence that she’s ever had social media accounts of any sort?

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 9/18/2018 @ 7:24 pm

  16. DRJ, it’s the fault of the individual assholes who decide that sending death threats via mail is an appropriate response.

    This isn’t a political problem, it’s a cultural problem.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/19/2018 @ 9:59 am

  17. So anything a socialist says about a high profile conservative is inherently untrustworthy?

    Comment by aphrael — 9/19/2018 @ 10:06 am

  18. You can generalize this into a cultural phenomenon if you want, but threats against politicians aren’t new. She is part of the politization by waiting until Kavanaugh was a SCOTUS nominee to come forward,

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 10:16 am

  19. There’s been a huge problem in the last decade or so with hateful and aggressive behavior directed at non politicians who irritate one move or another.

    Sending death threats to someone should be off the table as rude behavior, but apparently it isn’t.

    I had anticipated that you would have found such behavior as egregious as I do. I am astonished that you seem ok with it in this case.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/19/2018 @ 11:05 am

  20. I do not. I agree with Senator Grassley that it is unacceptable. But it does not surprise me. Patterico gets death threats because he blogs. It’s like any wrongdoing — we can’t stop crimes, we can only punish the perpetrators. I hope that happens with her threats.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 11:59 am

  21. When I said “I do not,” I meant that I am do not agree that death threats are ok.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 12:01 pm

  22. I do not think death threats are ok but they don’t surprise me — especially after seeing what happened to Patterico because of his blog. His SAWTTING may have been motivated by politics and could be considered an attempt to kill him. Ditto re the other SAWT victims.

    I know you don’t support that at all but it’s a positive when it is “only” threats.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 12:08 pm

  23. Typos are a problem for me today. Sorry. That should be Swatting and Swat.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 12:09 pm

  24. Thank you for the clarification; i misread something I now think you meant as “this has unfortunately become part of the process” as a lack of dismay at it becoming part of the process. I apologize for the misreading. :)

    I still think the individuals who do this sort of thing are the responsible ones, and that it’s related to a general deterioration in the willingness to disagree without being disagreeable.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/19/2018 @ 1:28 pm

  25. And honestly I think the right legal charge for someone who engages in a SWATTING is attempted murder.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/19/2018 @ 1:28 pm

  26. Don’t apologize, aphrael. I was careless in how I expressed myself.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 3:19 pm

  27. This is a human failing, being careless in how we express ourselves, and I was insufficiently charitable in my reading. You could have expressed yourself more carefully, and I could have read it more charitably, and I think it’s appropriate for us each to acknowledge it. :)

    For me that’s part of how respectful discourse works. :) I can hardly blast disrespectful discourse with one side of my mouth while refusing to engage respectfully with the other, or some other appropriate strangely mixed metaphor.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/19/2018 @ 4:05 pm

  28. Free speech often means people can do these things. It’s sad, maybe terrifying, but there may not be a good answer since we want to avoid criminalizing speech. The sad reality is that we all need to think of the possible consequences before we do things. In this case, one consequence of bringing this charge is she became the focus of attention.

    I suspect this happens with politicians and their families, too. It isn’t fair but it happens. Sometimes people who issue threats get caught and punished, to the extent they can be, especially Presidential threats.

    But IMO the real culprit is tolerance and the notion we no longer want people to feel ashamed. Shame is an important deterrent in life.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/19/2018 @ 4:52 pm

  29. @ aphrael

    “So anything a socialist says about a high profile conservative is inherently untrustworthy?”

    Far more doubtful, at least, same as with a national socialist accusing a high profile Jew or conservative. Or a KKK member accusing a black man.

    A further example of inherent doubtfulness that’s not in the sexual assault realm would be someone convicted of prior felonies saying “I didn’t do it!” when arrested for the same thing. Those priors are usually admissible in court for that very reason.

    In none of the aforementioned cases is it proof they are lying, but it plays to motive, and thus raises dire doubts regarding honesty and veracity.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 9/19/2018 @ 10:07 pm

  30. > But IMO the real culprit is tolerance and the notion we no longer want people to feel ashamed. Shame is an important deterrent in life.

    Shame may be an important deterrence, but ‘tolerance’ means that I do not walk through my life being ashamed of being non-Christian, being ashamed of having been raised by a single mother, being ashamed of experiencing same-sex attraction, being ashamed of having grown up poor, etc.

    *Tolerance* is the only thing that allows people like me to live successful lives and be accepted by and integrated into society.

    So blaming tolerance, in my mind, is a non-starter. Tolerance is overall fantastic for society, even if it has rough edges that need sanding down.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/20/2018 @ 12:18 pm

  31. Tolerance is fine but it has limits. Tolerance is so important to you in your life, but morality (not Christianity) means you have to draw the line somewhere and say “This is too far.” You can’t say crimes are too far because, in the past, it was illegal to have same sex relations or SSM. So where do you draw the line if tolerance is your guide?

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 1:58 pm

  32. “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
    – Thomas Jefferson

    Comment by Dave — 9/20/2018 @ 2:36 pm

  33. site had quote slightly misworded; should read

    “…such acts only as are injurious…”

    Comment by Dave — 9/20/2018 @ 2:44 pm

  34. Ok. Are you saying there is no limit to tolerance, Dave, provided the action does not involve government?

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 3:10 pm

  35. And government can only get involved to stop injuries?

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 3:11 pm

  36. By the way, aphrael, IMO it’s a falsehood to think tolerance is necessary to stop feeling shame. You don’t need outside validation to tell you if you are right.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 3:19 pm

  37. Clearly life is easier when society is tolerant and supportive. Society can be uncaring, judgmental and harsh. But shame isn’t all bad, and tolerance isn’t all good.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 3:29 pm

  38. I interpret Jefferson’s quote as “live and let live”.

    Of course, harm comes in many guises, and it isn’t always possible to agree on whether person A is truly injured by something done by person B.

    But in general, I think “does this harm someone else?” is a good starting point for defining the boundaries of tolerance.

    Comment by Dave — 9/20/2018 @ 3:36 pm

  39. I was libertarian when I was younger. It was very appealing until I had a family.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 3:45 pm

  40. I draw the line at lying and at choosing to hurt others deliberately (as opposed to choosing something that incidentally hurts others). The line is fuzzy, of course, but it’s hard not to have fuzzy lines when you’re dealing with people.

    I went through a libertarian phase, and a socialist phase. :) i’m still more libertarian leaning than the average guy on the left, and i see a lot of value in anarcho-socialist ideas — not as a way to force society to organize, but as a way to voluntarily organize with my fellows.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/20/2018 @ 6:13 pm

  41. It was very appealing until I had a family.

    Care to elaborate?

    Comment by Dave — 9/20/2018 @ 8:41 pm

  42. I could look out for myself so I was happy with a world that let me do what I wanted with little interference.

    Then I had a family and I realized how much kids need people to do the right thing. They can’t look out for themselves and even helicopter parents can’t protect them every minute. I decided more laws were good since people did dumb things that jeopardized my kids, and suing them afterward wasn’t good enough.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/20/2018 @ 9:43 pm

  43. I have a close friend who used to support marijuana legalization. He knew a lot of people who used the drug, and he knew people could generally be trusted to use it safely, because everyone in his life who used it had.

    When he became a parent he changed his mind; he didn’t want stoned drivers potentially putting his daughter at risk.

    Comment by aphrael — 9/21/2018 @ 8:12 am

  44. Exactly.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/21/2018 @ 3:52 pm

  45. Trade-offs between liberty and security are everywhere.

    We should recognize them for what they are, but I don’t think any formula exists to tell us how much is enough, and how much is too much.

    If enough people are sufficiently informed, we can hope that the “averaging” over opinions that takes place in a democracy will lead to a tolerable, if perhaps not perfect, compromise.

    Comment by Dave — 9/22/2018 @ 9:09 am

  46. Courts did balancing tests all the time on constitutional issues, and the public used to compromise but not as much now.

    I don’t know if we are more partisan or if the partisan activists on each side care more about winning than compromising. Even if the American public is still open-minded enough to compromise on some issues, there is no vehicle for that to happen. Even the courts are partisan now.

    Comment by DRJ — 9/22/2018 @ 9:59 am

  47. Courts are about exerting power, which cannot be acquired any other way, prop 187 sb 1070 prop 8

    Comment by narciso — 9/23/2018 @ 10:31 am

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