— Vic Vela (@VicVela1) September 24, 2018
Investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, whose exposure of ex-Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s chronic sexual harassment, alleged sexual assault, and acknowledged stomach-churning exploitation of women helped spawn a worldwide movement demanding accountability for misogynist domination of culture writ large, breaks news today with a local connection that could spell the end of President Donald Trump’s latest nomination to the U.S Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”
The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. 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 her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said.
In a statement, Kavanaugh wrote, “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.”
FOX 31 Denver reports that former Boulder County DA Stan Garnett is representing the alleged victim in these latest allegations, who happens to be one of your neighbors:
“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,” the report reads.
In an email to FOX31 and Channel 2 News, Laurie Cipriano, press secretary for Senator Michael Bennet, said the following:
“Judiciary staff reached out to our office and asked for a connection to someone who might be helpful should Deborah Ramirez decide to come forward with an allegation related to that made by Dr. Ford. We reached out to Stan Garnett who then met with Ramirez to work through how to analyze and present her allegations.”
These new accusations against Kavanaugh from a fellow classmate at Yale University greatly complicate plans to hold a swift vote after testimony over the alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford now set for next Thursday. It’s going to be necessary to accommodate this latest case with the same due diligence, which is going to inevitably further delay the vote to confirm Kavanaugh. To not afford this new allegation the same opportunity to be considered would be politically disastrous for Republicans, who are already under intense pressure to undo Donald Trump’s damage and take Dr. Ford’s allegations seriously.
Prior to this second set of allegations surfacing today, local Indivisible groups were already organizing a protest action outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s 19th Street office in downtown Denver for tomorrow against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. It’s a safe bet that the crowd in front of Gardner’s office will be boosted significantly by the morning news–and just as we were when Coloradan Neil Gorsuch was nominated to the Court early last year, Colorado is once again at the center of U.S. Supreme Court nomination battle.
This time, the outcome may be very different.