"Lifelong" Ford friend and potential witness: I have no idea what she's talking about

At the moment, it appears that Christine Blasey Ford will testify on Thursday. And at the moment, it’s not clear whether her story will carry much weight. The fourth and presumably final person Ford apparently claimed was present at the party where the attack occurred has given a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and … it’s not much help to Ford:

CNN has learned that the committee has reached out to a longtime friend of Ford named Leland Ingham Keyser.

“I understand that you have been identified as an individual who was in attendance at a party that occurred circa 1982 described in a recent Washington Post article,” a committee staffer wrote Keyser earlier this week.

On Saturday night, her lawyer, Howard Walsh, released a statement to CNN and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Simply put,” Walsh said, “Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

Ford’s legal team tried to put the best spin on it they could:

“It’s not surprising that Ms Keyser has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it,” Katz said in a statement. “It’s also unremarkable that Ms. Keyser does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there.”

It would be unremarkable if Ford didn’t name Leland Keyser as one of four other people who was there during the attack — Brett Kavanaugh as the attacker, Mark Judge as a sort-of accomplice, and Patrick “PJ” Smyth and now Leland Ingham Keyser as witnesses that could put Ford and Kavanaugh at the same party. If Ford named Keyser as a witness, this becomes a huge problem for the credibility of her allegation, as all four people named now have denied any such knowledge. The denial of Keyser is probably most important because of her status as one of Ford’s “lifelong” friends, as Keyser’s attorney put it in the letter to the committee.

John McCormack notes that Keyser has a Democrat connection or two, also:

Keyser previously coached golf at Georgetown University and is now executive producer of Bob Beckel’s podcast. Keyser is the ex-wife of Beckel, a former Democratic operative and commentator. A search on OpenSecrets.org reveals Keyser’s only political donation has been to former Democratic senator Byron Dorgan. …

All of Ford’s alleged witnesses of the party, both male and female, have now denied any recollection of attending such a party.

This would tend to put a spike in this story, if — and only if — Keyser actually is the fourth person named by Ford in her conversation with Washington Post reporters. Smyth went public when Post reporters left messages for comment, and also filed his own testimony with the Senate Judiciary Committee. Keyser hasn’t gone public with the information, but the committee must have gotten the name at some point. If Keyser wasn’t the person named, then a fourth person might still be out there. However, if Keyser wasn’t the fourth person named by Ford, why wouldn’t Katz have said that tonight?

If that’s all Ford has, she can still show up on Thursday and make some headlines. But right now, this development makes it one person and one person only making the allegation, and the three other people that the accuser named as corroboration are all on the record denying it. It’s not a he-said-she-said at the moment, but a she-said-witnesses-debunk situation. If Ford and her attorneys find another reason not to show up for the hearing, this will likely be the reason why.