While the FBI goes about their work of investigating more allegations about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the media is still busy as a hive of bees looking for more witnesses against him. One of those turned up this weekend in the person of Charles Ludington, a North Carolina State University professor and former classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale. Ludington doesn’t claim to have any knowledge of the judge committing any sexual assaults and doesn’t dip a toe in that pool. But he does claim to know quite a bit about Kavanaugh’s drinking habits, having allegedly bent an elbow with him on many occasions.
This is the driving force behind his decision to speak to both the press and the FBI according to the witness. He feels that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate committee about his drinking habits in his college days and that lack of candor is of value to the Senate during their deliberations. The story he tells is a wild and wooly one, involving Kavanaugh being a mean drunk who instigated a fight which resulted in someone going to jail. (Washington Post)
Ludington, an associate professor at North Carolina State University, provided a copy of the statement to The Post.
In it, Ludington says in one instance, Kavanaugh initiated a fight that led to the arrest of a mutual friend: “When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive. On one of the last occasions I purposely socialized with Brett, I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.”
Ludington says he was deeply troubled by Kavanaugh appearing to blatantly mischaracterize his drinking in Senate testimony.
The New York Times published the full statement from Ludington, which you can read here.
Is it just me, or is there something rather critical missing from all this breathless coverage? I understand there’s a rush to publish in the 24-hour news cycle, but you have to wonder how any outlet can put this sort of story out in the public eye without including one key detail. Who was the person who was fighting with Kavanaugh? Who went to jail? And perhaps most importantly, where is the documentation for this? If somebody was arrested there is a record of it out there somewhere. Talk about a “limited investigation.”
This wasn’t a high school incident because Ludington specifies that he can only speak to Kavanaugh’s time at Yale. If this had happened in high school, the records of a minor might be sealed or even expunged. But if they were all 18 or older, there has to be an arrest record. Did anyone go look for it? Perhaps this arrest record will turn up today or later this week. If so, the story immediately gains more credibility and the Senate can take it under consideration. But if there is no such record, is this even a newsworthy report?
The other possibility is that Ludington either refused to tell reporters the name of the person or persons allegedly in the fight and who was arrested or was unable to do so. If that’s the case, why not? If you’re willing to come out with this much of a story, why stop there? Without naming names, this becomes basically another anonymous accusation from more than three decades ago. And this is finally one accusation against Kavanaugh which might be officially substantiated.
Or is Ludington telling us a story he remembers very specifically about an incident involving Brett Kavanaugh, but he somehow can’t remember the names of the other classmates involved? (If so, perhaps Brett Kavanaugh has some sort of magic power to erase people’s minds.)
I’m just not sure what to make of Ludington’s revelations. If the FBI can pry more details out of him today and/or an arrest record for the person Kavanaugh was supposedly fighting surfaces, the story becomes relevant. It doesn’t add a single thing to the sexual assault allegations, but it would speak to his honesty in describing his drinking habits as a young man. Whether or not some youthful beer guzzling and the occasional brawl is a factor in the Senate’s decision is entirely up to them. But if nobody can come up with anything to support Ludington’s story, this is basically as useless as Blasey Ford’s testimony without anyone to back it up.