The political world was rocked late Sunday night when a second woman accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. A college classmate, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer that when Kavanaugh was a freshman he "thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away" at a "drunken dormitory party."
In the shockingly uncorroborated story, Ramirez calls for an FBI investigation. None, however, is warranted, as Ramirez's claims are, quite simply, unbelievable.
As Farrow and Mayer report, she "was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident." In other words, after 35 years, she is unclear on the details of the alleged incident and would very obviously be unable to provide complete, reliable testimony on it.
"After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney," the story continues, "Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers" the allegations. Wait, it took six days of "carefully assessing her memories?" What does that even mean? She looked back, after consulting an attorney, of course, and then decided that she remembered a sexual assault? In what way is this a credible allegation? The story itself rather clearly implies that this "memory"--especially as it pertains to the specific allegations against Kavanaugh--was more manufactured than recalled.
Naturally, Kavanaugh denies Ramirez's account in the most vehement of terms:
This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. 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.
Note that Kavanaugh said he "look[s] forward to testifying" before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ramirez does not, as Mayer told The TODAY Show Monday morning. Ramirez is instead calling for an FBI investigation (even though the FBI does not have jurisdiction to investigate a 35 year-old alleged state crime).
The New Yorker attempts to paint this refusal to testify under oath about her allegations in the most sympathetic light, but it is plain that Ramirez simply doesn't remember the incident clearly at all--even after six days of "carefully assessing her memories:"
Ramirez acknowledged that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening, and that, if she ever presents her story to the F.B.I. or members of the Senate, she will inevitably be pressed on her motivation for coming forward after so many years, and questioned about her memory, given her drinking at the party.
More tellingly, she can't even be totally sure of her specific allegations--that Brett Kavanaugh touched her with his exposed penis during a drinking game in a dorm room--because she didn't actually see what she now claims she saw:
And yet, after several days of considering the matter carefully, she said, “I’m confident about the pants coming up, and I’m confident about Brett being there.” Ramirez said that what has stayed with her most forcefully is the memory of laughter at her expense from Kavanaugh and the other students. “It was kind of a joke,” she recalled. “And now it’s clear to me it wasn’t a joke.”
Notice how this is phrased: She was confident Kavanaugh was there. She saw Kavanaugh zipping up his pants. She didn't see Brett Kavanaugh expose his penis. She didn't see his exposed penis on her. Is it possible that, if this incident did, in fact take place, Kavanaugh (or another young man at the party) put his finger on her? Ramirez here provides reasonable doubt of her story.
And that story is wholly uncorroborated by anyone who was allegedly there:
The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party. The magazine contacted several dozen classmates of Ramirez and Kavanaugh regarding the incident. Many did not respond to interview requests; others declined to comment, or said they did not attend or remember the party. A classmate of Ramirez’s, who declined to be identified because of the partisan battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that another student told him about the incident either on the night of the party or in the next day or two. The classmate said that he is “one-hundred-per-cent sure” that he was told at the time that Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to Ramirez.
Not one single eyewitness could place Kavanaugh at the party. Not a single person. The only corroboration Ramirez has is a guy who claims he heard that Kavanaugh was the guy who put his penis on her. That is quite literally the definition of hearsay and would thus be inadmissible as evidence against Kavanaugh were this matter to be tried (which it couldn't be since the statute of limitations in Connecticut is five years).
The New Yorker then further undercuts this hearsay from Kavanaugh's former Yale classmates by admitting that the high-profile and highly politicized nature of Kanvanaugh's Supreme Court nomination reignited talk of his alleged behavior in college:
Mark Krasberg, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico who was also a member of Kavanaugh and Ramirez’s class at Yale, said Kavanaugh’s college behavior had become a topic of discussion among former Yale students soon after Kavanaugh’s nomination. In one e-mail that Krasberg received in September, the classmate who recalled hearing about the incident with Ramirez alluded to the allegation and wrote that it “would qualify as a sexual assault,” he speculated, “if it’s true.”
Let's see: Krasberg says that he and other friends started emailing one another about old dirt on Brett Kavanaugh as soon as he was nominated to the Supreme Court but admits that he's not sure if a decades-old rumor about him is true.
The people who were actually at the alleged gathering, though, say categorically that it was not:
In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events: “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place. Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not. The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett. In addition, some of us knew Debbie long after Yale, and she never described this incident until Brett’s Supreme Court nomination was pending. Editors from the New Yorker contacted some of us because we are the people who would know the truth, and we told them that we never saw or heard about this.”
Even more damning is a statement from Ramirez's former best friend, who heard nothing about this alleged incident until she was contacted by The New Yorker. Even though it was supposedly a hot rumor on campus, Ramirez's best friend had no idea it had happened. She never heard about it. Not once:
The former friend who was married to the male classmate alleged to be involved, and who signed the statement, said of Ramirez, “This is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.”
So why is Ramirez coming forward now, for the first time, at the exact moment it would hurt Kavanaugh's career the most? Well...
Ramirez is a registered Democrat, but said that her decision to speak out was not politically motivated and, regarding her views, that she “works toward human rights, social justice, and social change.”
A quick recap: Ramirez, a partisan Democrat who works toward "social justice" (and would therefore vehemently oppose a conservative like Kavanaugh tipping the balance of power on the Supreme Court for decades) did not tell anyone about her allegations for decades, could not find anyone to directly corroborate her story (even her former best friend), and only recalled the incident after six days of "carefully assessing" her memories...with the assistance of an attorney. And when did she and her attorney start this assessment? After Senate Democrats came looking for someone, anyone to establish a pattern of Kavanaugh's alleged sexually deviant behavior following high school allegations by Christine Blasey Ford.
As Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings became a national story, the discussions among Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s classmates took on heightened urgency, eventually spreading to news organizations and to the Senate. Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, who currently represents her. Ramirez ultimately decided to begin telling her story publicly, before others did so for her. “I didn’t want any of this,” she said. “But now I have to speak.”
Note again that Kavanaugh's name is attached to these allegations with "heightened urgency," suggesting again that the allegations against him are motivated by political opposition more than they are motivated by a desire for justice.
This political motivation on its own would not be dispositive of the allegations against Kavanaugh, but combined with the shakiness of Ramirez's own recollection of the alleged incident and the utter lack of firsthand corroboration make her allegations all but impossible to believe.