Bethany Beach, Del. — Mark Judge has been conspicuously absent for more than a week: Named as the only witness to an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, he has not been seen and has said little beyond a statement released by a lawyer saying he recalled no such incident.
A high school friend of Kavanaugh’s, Judge has been absent from his Maryland residence for days as Democratic lawmakers and accuser Christine Blasey Ford have demanded that Republicans summon him before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions under oath.
On Monday, a Washington Post reporter found Judge holed up in the house of a longtime friend in Bethany Beach, nearly three hours away. A car in the driveway contained piles of clothing, a collection of Superman comics and a package addressed to Judge at the Potomac home where he lived three years ago.
“How’d you find me?” he said.
The reporter gestured to the car packed with belongings. Judge declined to comment further.
Barbara “Biz” VanGelder, Judge’s lawyer, said she instructed him to leave the D.C. area last week because of an onslaught of criticism and media questions. At the time, the conservative blogger’s life and writings were beginning to come under scrutiny, leading to charges of misogyny and worse.
“I told him to leave town. He is being hounded. He is a recovering alcoholic and is under unbelievable stress,” she said. “He needed for his own health to get out of this toxic environment and take care of himself.”
VanGelder said Judge waited to leave town until after the hearing date and witnesses were announced.
Judge, 54, has chronicled the debauchery of his 1980s high school years as a student at Georgetown Prep, where he and Kavanaugh were self-proclaimed members of the “100 Kegs or Bust” club.
In his 1997 memoir, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” he wrote of high school “masturbation class,” said he “lusted after girls” at Catholic schools and referenced a passed-out “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who drank too much and once threw up in a car.
On Sept. 16, The Post published an article in which Ford identified herself publicly for the first time and detailed her claim that, in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped her at a high school party as Judge looked on. By her account, no one else was in the room.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
While negotiating her possible appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Ford’s legal team has urged the panel to compel Judge to testify, while Republicans have insisted that the hearing be limited to Ford and Kavanaugh.
Ford’s supporters noted that hearing from witnesses would more closely resemble how the committee handled Anita Hill’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.
“The Republicans refuse to even put him on the witness list so we can ask any questions about what he remembers,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said on ABC’s “This Week.” “. . . I think the Republicans have shown their uneasiness with their own defense by refusing to allow Mark Judge to testify.”
In a letter to the committee, Judge said that he did not wish to speak publicly and that he has “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,” Judge wrote. “More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes.”
Republicans held to their position. “No reason to” call him, said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). “He’s already said what he’s going to say.”
On Sunday, the Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), wrote to Ford’s lawyers that only the committee “determines which witnesses to call, how many witnesses to call, in what order to call them, and who will question them. These are non-negotiable.”
Ford and Kavanaugh are now scheduled to testify Thursday — without Judge.
Seung Min Kim, Mike DeBonis, Marc Fisher and Alice Crites contributed to this report.