Say what? Buried at the end of a new book that attempts to resurrect the sexual-assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh, the authors include an important rebuttal witness. For the first time, Christine Blasey Ford friend Leland Keyser not only denies knowing anything about the party and the alleged assault, she told the reporter that she hasn’t “any confidence” in her friend’s credibility on the issue.
Mollie Hemingway made the find in reviewing the book:
Buried at the end of their new book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly quietly admit that Christine Blasey Ford’s lifelong friend Leland Keyser did not believe her friend’s tale of a sexual assault at a party they both supposedly attended. Keyser was named by Ford as a witness, one of four who denied any knowledge of the event in question.
The book offers no evidence in support of the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford, but, they write, their “gut reaction” was that her allegations “rang true.”
Their “gut” instinct was based on the fact that Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh grew up in the same rough area and she had dated one of his friends. Further, Leland Keyser had gone out on a date — maybe even two dates, they’re not sure — with a friend of Kavanaugh’s. “None of that means that Ford was, in fact, assaulted by Kavanaugh,” they write, “But it does mean that she has a baseline level of credibility as an accuser.” It is unclear what they mean.
For those who do not recall Keyser, Blasey Ford had told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she was one of four people who could corroborate her claim against Kavanaugh. None of the four did, but Keyser got more attention than the other three. At the time, Keyser refused to participate but only issued a vague demurral through her attorney about not being able to recollect the incident:
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.”
Blasey Ford’s legal team tried to spin that away, even though they had named Keyser in the first place as a corroborating witness:
“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.”
The problem for Blasey Ford turns out to be bigger than that. Not only does Keyser not recall any such incident, she also doubts that it ever took place at all. The authors bury this blurb at the end, but only after extolling Blasey Ford’s credibility and their own “gut instinct”:
We spoke multiple times to Keyser, who also said that she didn’t recall that get-together or any others like it. In fact, she challenged Ford’s accuracy. “I don’t have any confidence in the story.”
Wait — what? The authors’ “gut instinct” that Blasey Ford told the truth was supposedly formed at least in part on Keyser’s connection to Kavanaugh. If Keyser “doesn’t have any confidence” in Blasey Ford’s story — even though Blasey Ford explicitly named her as a witness and a character reference — why do the authors continue to treat Blasey Ford credibly? For that matter, why does anyone else?
Let’s also not forget the massive amount of pressure Keyser felt to offer up corroborative testimony to support Blasey Ford. Her allies — and Kavanaugh’s enemies — were desperate to get enough for Blasey Ford to pressure Senate Republicans into abandoning Kavanaugh and forcing his withdrawal. As reported at the time by the Wall Street Journal, it bordered on witness tampering and resulted in a second-hand comment from Keyser at the time that she “believed” Blasey Ford. Not only has that proven untrue, Mollie explains that the pressure was much heavier and heavier-handed than was known at the time:
“I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply,” Keyser told the reporters, a stunning admission of the pressure to which she was subjected to by Blasey Ford’s allies.
In other words, all of this from Keyser is testimony against interests. She had been lifelong friends with Blasey Ford and her circle; Keyser also opposed Kavanaugh’s appointment; she has to worry still about the rumor mill generating allegations about her own conduct to degrade her (minimal) public persona. Not only did Keyser stick to her guns despite all of that, she actually warned the authors not to take Blasey Ford’s word. Coming on top of the stunning story about Blasey Ford’s father and the political motives behind her attack, it’s beginning to look like those who knew Blasey Ford best knew better than to take her at her word.
Rather than taking Keyser’s advice, the authors ignored her while using Keyser indirectly to argue for Blasey Ford’s credibility. That’s not journalism — it’s mindless advocacy and demagoguery. Or, as John Ziegler put it, a “temper tantrum” over having lost the Kavanaugh war a year ago:
The once universally respected paper of record published a bizarre opinion piece on a book by two of its reporters who investigated Kavanaugh’s past, in light of the sexual assault allegations levied against him during his intensely contentious confirmation process. The piece, which is weirdly headlined and framed as a look at the Yale University culture at the time Kavanaugh studied there, eventually reveals a “new” allegation against him. It sounds very similar to the one involving Deborah Ramirez, which the authors try mightily to resuscitate, mostly through the use of smoke and mirrors.
The story has been the talk of the internet for the past two days and its “revelations” have been widely copied and pasted by other major news outlets. However, there is absolutely nothing “new” or legitimately credible in the piece, and there are key omissions that should humiliate the Times and, in a rational world, would never have allowed the story to run as it did.
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