A mutual friend of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and accuser Deborah Ramirez has reportedly turned over text messages to the FBI showing him reaching out to friends from college for support before her allegations were made public.
Kerry Berchem, a partner in the law firm Akin Gump, told NBC News that she had text messages showing that Judge Kavanaugh contacted classmates, including Karen Yarasavage, prior to the publication of the New Yorker article in which Ms. Ramirez said that he exposed himself to her at a Yale party.
“In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates in advance of the story,” said Monday’s NBC report.
The report said that Ms. Berchem reached out to the FBI and then Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, who assisted her with turning over the texts to the FBI investigators.
“After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself,” said a Blumenthal spokesman.
George Hartmann, a spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, told NBC that “the texts from Ms. Berchem do not appear relevant or contradictory to Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony.”
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“This appears to be another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination with baseless innuendo by Democrats who have already decided to vote no,” Mr. Hartmann said.
Judge Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he first heard of the Ramirez claims through the New Yorker piece, which appeared Sept. 23.
He was clearly aware of her allegations before the article was published because it included a lengthy statement from him saying that the incident “did not happen.”
Ms. Berchem told NBC, “I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him.”
“However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations,” she said. “I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean, but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate.”
The FBI is investigating “current credible allegations” against Judge Kavanaugh as part of an additional background check that is slated to be completed by the end of the week.
The New York Times reported that it had interviewed several dozen people about the Ramirez incident, which allegedly occurred 35 years ago when Judge Kavanaugh was a freshman, “and could find no one with firsthand knowledge.”
“Ms. 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,” The Times said.
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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