In the days leading up to a public allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh exposed himself to a college classmate, the judge and his team were communicating behind the scenes with friends to refute the claim, according to text messages obtained by NBC News.
Kerry Berchem, who was at Yale with both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has tried to get those messages to the FBI for its newly reopened investigation into the matter but says she has yet to be contacted by the bureau.
The texts between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, suggest that the nominee was personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story in advance of the New Yorker article that made her allegation public. In one message, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates in advance of the story.
NBC News reached out to Berchem for comment after obtaining a copy of a memo she wrote about the text messages. In a statement to NBC News, Berchem, a partner in the law firm Akin Gump, said: “I understand that President Trump and the U.S. Senate have ordered an FBI investigation into certain allegations of sexual misconduct by the nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him. However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations. I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate.”
On Sunday, Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough her memo. After getting no response, she resent the summary on Monday morning along with screenshots of certain texts that she thinks raise questions that should be investigated. “I’m sure he’s really busy and expect that he’ll get back to me,” said Berchem.
Berchem’s memo outlining her correspondence with Yarasavage shows there’s a circle of Kavanaugh friends who may have pertinent information and evidence relevant to the inquiry who may not be interviewed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already set in motion a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on the Senate floor for later this week.
It also appears that Kavanaugh was working the witnessses
Berchem’s texts with Yarasavage shed light on Kavanaugh’s personal contact with friends, including that he obtained a copy of a photograph of a small group of friends from Yale at a 1997 wedding in order to show himself smiling alongside Ramirez 10 years after they graduated. Both were in the wedding party: Kavanaugh was a groomsman and Ramirez a bridesmaid at the wedding.
On Sept, 22nd, Yarasavage texted Berchem that she had shared the photo with “Brett’s team.”
But when Kavanaugh was asked about the wedding during a committee interview on Sept. 25th, he said he was “probably” at a wedding with Ramirez. Asked if he interacted with her at the wedding, Kavanaugh replied, “I am sure I saw her because it wasn’t a huge wedding,” but added that he “doesn’t have a specific recollection.” Lying to Congress is a felony whether testimony is taken under oath or not.
Yup — let’s recap:
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: When did you first hear of Ms. Ramirez’s allegations against you?
KAVANAUGH: In the last — in the period since then, the New Yorker story [published on Sept. 23].
But NBC News’s Heidi Przbyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell write that Kavanaugh and his team were trying to refute Ramirez’s allegations BEFORE they became public.
So that’s a problem.
And it seems that Kavanaugh was Creepy McCreeperson:
Finally, Berchem is concerned about what she witnessed at the 1997 wedding where Ramirez and Kavanaugh were both in the wedding party.
According to the information Berchem provided, Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh at that wedding of their two friends, Yarasavage and Kevin Genda.
Ramirez, “clung to me” at the wedding, Berchem wrote to Yarasavage in a Sept. 24th text message. “She never went near them,” a reference to Kavanaugh and his friends. Even in the group photo, Berchem wrote, Ramirez was trying to keep away from Kavanaugh.
Here’s that photo —
The NY Times also has some more on Kavanaugh’s background:
As an undergraduate student at Yale, Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an altercation at a local bar during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron, according to a police report.
The incident, which occurred in September 1985 during Mr. Kavanaugh’s junior year, resulted in Mr. Kavanaugh and four other men being questioned by the New Haven Police Department. Mr. Kavanaugh was not arrested, but the police report stated that a 21-year-old man accused Mr. Kavanaugh of throwing ice on him “for some unknown reason.”
A witness to the fight said that Chris Dudley, a Yale basketball player who is friends with Mr. Kavanaugh, then threw a glass that hit the man in the ear, according to the police report, which was obtained by The New York Times.
The report said that the victim, Dom Cozzolino, “was bleeding from the right ear” and was treated at a hospital. A detective was notified of the incident at 1:20 a.m.
But, uh oh, none of this matters, according to this breaking Bloomberg news:
The FBI has been granted authority to investigate sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but isn’t doing its own deep dive into his alcohol use or whether he committed perjury when he testified last week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Senate won’t vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination until after the FBI completes its one-week probe into allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, said second-ranking Republican John Cornyn.
The White House agreed on Monday to let the Federal Bureau of Investigation question more people in connection with allegations that he was sexually abusive toward women following growing criticism that the probe was too constrained.
But the White House hasn’t asked the FBI to do a full-throttle probe of Kavanaugh’s use of alcohol or whether he intentionally gave false testimony to the Senate committee, the person said. The FBI has also been told to finish the probe by Friday, meaning there are time limits on what agents can do.
The fix IS in.