(CNSNews.com) - Christine Blasey Ford told Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a July 30 letter that there were four people besides herself at the “gathering” in the “early 1980’s” where she alleges future Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was then a high school student, “sexually assaulted” her.
Two of those four were Kavanaugh and his high school classmate, Mark Judge, both of whom have denied Ford’s allegation.
Now a third alleged attendee, another Kavanaugh high school classmate named Patrick J. Smyth, has provided a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee rebutting Ford’s story.
Ford told Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) in her July 30 letter that “Brett Kavanaugh physically and sexually assaulted me during high school in the early 1980's.”
“The assault occurred in a suburban Maryland area home at a gathering that included me and four others,” Ford said in the letter to Feinstein, the text of which was published by CNN.
On Sept. 16, The Washington Post reported in an investigative story based on Ford’s first-hand account to the paper that: “Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.”
The two who were allegedly in the room with Ford, as the Post reported Ford’s account, were future Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his then-Georgetown Prep classmate Mark Judge.
The Post reported that Ford named two others she alleged were at the party. The Post tried unsuccessfully to contact these two and did not name them in its story.
“Ford named two other teenagers who she said were at the party,” the Post reported. “Those individuals did not respond to messages on Sunday morning.”
'No Knowledge of the Party in Question'
Now, Patrick J. Smyth, an individual who understands himself to be one of the alleged attendees of the alleged gathering, has provided a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which he--like Kavanaugh and Judge--denies Ford’s story.
The substance of this letter, written by Smyth’s lawyer Eric Bruce, was first reported by CNN on Wednesday morning. The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed to CNSNews.com that it did in fact receive the letter on Tuesday evening.
The letter, as reported by CNN, included a statement from Smyth rebutting Ford’s alleged claim that he was at a gathering like the one she described to the Post.
As reported by CNN, the quotes from Smyth as cited in his lawyer’s letter to the Judiciary Committee, are as follows:
“I understand that I have been identified by Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as ‘PJ’ who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post. … I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question, nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.
“Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh toward women. To safeguard my own privacy and anonymity, I respectfully request that the Committee accept this statement in response to any inquiry the committee may have.”
Mark Judge, who used to be a writer for CNSNews.com, provided his own statement to the Judiciary Committee in a letter sent by his lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder.
“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved,” Judge said in the letter. “The only reason I am involved is because Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remembers me as the other person in the room during the alleged assault.
“In fact,” said Judge, “I have no memory of this alleged incident. Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Ford describes.”
The day after the Post ran its story featuring Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her, Kavanaugh issued a categorical denial and offered to speak to the Judiciary Committee about it “in any way the Committee deems appropriate.”
“This is a completely false allegation,” Kavanaugh said. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone.
“Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday,” said Kavanaugh.
“I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity,” Kavanaugh said.
On Tuesday, Ford's lawyers, Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley in which they demurred on the question of whether she would testify before the committee about her allegations and asked instead that the FBI investigate the matter first.
"The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is 'mistaken' and 'mixed up,'" the lawyers wrote. "While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the committee and law enforcement officials."
They said an "FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations."
Grassley sent his own letter to Ford’s attorneys on Wednesday, noting that committee staff had been reaching out to Ford hoping to discuss the matter and that the committee had invited her to testify either in a closed session or an open one, depending on her preference.
“The committee’s standard procedure for supplemental background investigations is to conduct phone or in-person interviews with the relevant parties to discuss the underlying issues,” Grassley said in his letter to Ford’s lawyers. “To that end, committee staff has attempted to contact you directly by phone and e-mail several times to schedule a call at a time convenient to you and your client. We thus far have not heard back from you with regard to that request.”
“As you know, I have reopened the hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in light of Dr. Ford’s allegations,” Grassley said in his letter. “That hearing will begin again on Monday, Sept. 25, at 10:00 a.m. I have invited Dr. Ford to testify regarding her allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. And in recognition of how difficult it can be to discuss allegations of this kind in public, I have also offered her the choice of testifying in either a public or closed session of the hearing. In response to my invitation, however, you wrote yesterday that ‘an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations.”
Grassley told Ford’s lawyer that that is not the FBI’s job.
“It is not the FBI’s role to investigate a matter such as this,” he wrote.
“The Constitution assigns the Senate, and the Senate only, with the task of advising the president on his nominee and consenting to the nomination if the circumstances merit,” wrote Grassley.
“We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence,” he said. “The job of assessing and investigating a nominee’s qualifications in order to decide whether to consent to the nomination is ours and ours alone."