A woman from Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s teenage past claims he and a high school classmate once held her down in a locked room while he covered her mouth and tried to force himself on her sexually.
The bombshell charge, which Kavanaugh flatly denied on Friday, followed 24 hours of speculation about what Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein vaguely called ‘information’ that she had handed to the FBI.
The alleged teenage party incident was described in a letter from the unnamed woman to Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her California congresswoman. Eshoo passed it to Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the rancorous Senate Judiciary Committee that is weighing Kavanaugh’s nomination.
In a statement, Kavanaugh told
The classmate said of the allegation, ‘I have no recollection of that.’ The woman declined The New Yorker’s interview request.
The specifics, however, are riveting. The woman claims in her letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate, both of whom had been drinking, turned up the volume of music in the room so her cries of protest couldn’t be heard outside. In her telling of the story, she managed to escape the room.
She also says the memory of the incident drove her to seek psychological treatment.
Brettt Kavanaugh (at right, pictured in his high school yearbook), now a 53-year-old U.S. Supreme Court nominee, was 17 years old at the time a woman alleges he tried to force himself on her sexually – an accusation he flatly denies
FBI request: Diane Feinstein has referred a letter she has received to the Justice Department. It reportedly concerned Brett Kavanuagh’s high school behavior
The unnamed woman has reportedly retained Debra Katz, a prominent Washington D.C. attorney involved in the #MeToo movement
Donald Trump made Kavanaugh his second Supreme Court nominee, opening up his life to intense scrutiny from Democrats who want to stymie the president’s chances to tilt the court politically to the right
Kavanaugh, a Washington native, attended Georgetown Preparatory School, an all-boys Catholic institution just across the Maryland border. Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch, went to the same elite institution.
The New Yorker reported that the woman had attended a nearby high school.
His senior-year high school yearbook included photos of him playing basketball, a sport he now coaches in his spare time, and a panel of acknowledgements and quotes.
One, from Benjamin Franklin’s ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack,’ reads: ‘He that would live in peace and at ease, Must not speak all he knows nor JUDGE all he sees.’
Kavanaugh would later go on to clerk for a Supreme Court justice, serve as President George W. Bush’s White House staff secretary, and win an appointment as a judge on the federal bench.
The FBI declined to investigate the material from Feinstein – which she has had since the summer and whose release appeared to have been timed for maximum impact.
Senators will soon vote on whether Judge Kavanaugh will become Justice Kavanaugh. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee want him seated on the Supreme Court when its next term begins on October 1.
Speculation about a sexual-misconduct September surprise ran rampant after Debra Katz, a Washington, D.C. lawyer best known for representing women who make ‘#MeToo’-style accusations against powerful men, was seen leaving the Capitol.
Multiple reports said she was representing the unnamed woman, who now would likely be 53 years old. Katz has not responded to requests for comment.
Kavanaugh graduated in 1983 from Georgetown Prep, an all-boys Catholic school in suburban Maryland near Washington, D.C.
Kavanaugh, who now coaches girls basketball, was captain of his high school varsity team (front, center)
‘Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process,’ an FBI official told the Post.
A tight-lipped Feinstein had released a cryptic statement saying that the woman who provided the information about Kavanaugh ‘strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision.’
A White House spokeswoman complained Thursday about the timing of the vague and gauzy revelation.
‘Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new “information” about him,’ Kerri Kupec said.
The Georgetown Prep yearbook showed a teenage Kavanaugh shooting hoops in his final high school basketball game
Kavanaugh’s yearbook page included these tributes, led off by a quote from Benjamin Franklin in the 1736 ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn mocked the idea of a legitimate bombshell that could sink Kavanaugh
‘Let me get this strsight’: Cornyn was in disbelief about what appeared to be the substance of Feinstein’s letter
Cornyn also pointed out that the FBI had already cleared Kavanaugh and that committee Democrats had their report
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, she said, had ‘promised to “oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have,” and it appears he is delivering with this 11th hour attempt to delay his confirmation.’
Kupec added that the FBI had already ‘thoroughly and repeatedly vetted Judge Kavanaugh, dating back to 1993, for some of the most highly sensitive roles.’
Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, told reporters outside a Senate hearing room that he hadn’t seen the letter Feinstein is guarding.
‘All I know is what I read, and I wouldn’t make any judgment of it until I get more information,’ Grassley said.
Fellow committee Republican John Cornyn of Texas reacted with a digital eye-roll.
‘Let me get this straight: this is statement about secret letter regarding a secret matter and an unidentified person. Right,’ Cornyn tweeted.
In a second tweet, he added that ‘the FBI already performed and has reported on a background investigation on the nominee and this has been made available to all Senators on the Judiciary Committee.’
Feinstein received her information in a roundabout fashion.
Eshoo passed the letter to Feinstein, but neither lawmaker will describe what’s in it. Eshoo’s office says it’s considered part of an active and confidential constituent-service case.
Feinstein is closely guarding it, refusing to share it even with her fellow Judiciary Committee Democrats.
She complained Thursday during a committee meeting that Republicans were rushing engaged in a ‘rush to judgement’ as they moved to close the file on Kavanaugh before its full contents could be examined.
Republicans have already provided Democrats with an avalanche of documents, including tens of thousands from his time serving as staff secretary in the George W. Bush White House.
‘What in Judge Kavanaugh’s records are Republicans hiding?’ Feinstein exclaimed.