On Sunday, The New Yorker published new accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez told Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer that he had exposed himself to her, thrust his penis in her face, and that she touched his penis while pushing him away. The new allegations come days before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both in high school, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Here’s why Ramirez’s story matters:
Kavanaugh was an adult
Since Blasey Ford first came forward with her accusation that Kavanaugh had assaulted her, many public figures have argued that behavior as a minor should have no bearing on whether Kavanaugh is confirmed. Some even suggested that such behavior was normal for teenage boys. As Former Congressman Joe Walsh tweeted, “If stupid, bad, or drunken behavior as a minor back in high school were the standard, every male politician in Washington, DC would fail. Every single one. Hypocrites.” But the incident Ramirez describes occurred when the two were freshmen at Yale, when Kavanaugh was 18. This may not stop Kavanaugh’s defenders from arguing that these incidents, if they occurred, were youthful indiscretions, but it does undercut the argument from a legal perspective.
There were more witnesses
Blasey Ford has been accused of fabricating her allegation because the only person she said was in the room, Mark Judge, has denied any knowledge of such events. In addition, two other people Blasey Ford said were at the party have said they don’t recall having attended. By contrast, The New Yorker was able to speak to several classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s who recall having heard of the incident at the time. While they were unable to find an eyewitness to place Kavanaugh at the party, the contemporaneous corroboration of an event whose details match Ramirez’s description bolsters its credibility in the face of “he-said-she-said” lines of questioning.
It may show a pattern
Tens of witnesses—including 65 women—have come forward to defend Kavanaugh against Blasey Ford’s allegations, saying they were out of character for the man they knew. But with Ramirez’s allegations, if true, begin to show a different side of Kavanaugh’s character. That would align with one Yale classmate’s recollection, told to The New Yorker, that Kavanaugh was “relatively shy” when sober, but could be “aggressive and even belligerent” when drunk.
Further bolstering the narrative that Blasey Ford’s and Ramirez’s allegations expose a different side of Kavanaugh is attorney Michael Avenatti’s Sunday announcement that he is representing a group of people that includes another victim of Kavanaugh’s. Avenatti, who represents porn star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, says this group has credible information that Kavanaugh and Judge routinely plied teenage girls with alcohol and drugs “in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them.”