On Wednesday, James Roche, Kavanaugh’s freshman-year roommate at Yale, broke his silence to join the chorus of voices rebutting many of the statements the judge told senators during last week’s explosive hearing. Kavanaugh faces sexual misconduct allegations from three women, all of whom say he had been drinking at the time of the alleged events. The judge has denied all the allegations.
“Brett M. Kavanaugh stood up under oath and lied about his drinking and about the meaning of words in his yearbook,” Roche wrote in an op-ed published in Slate. “He did so baldly, without hesitation or reservation.”
Roche also appeared on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360″ on Wednesday night and said: “When Brett started saying things about his drinking and his use of certain words, sexually oriented words, I knew he was lying because he was my roommate. We were in a room together, our beds were 10 feet apart for a couple of months.”
He added, “Not only did I know that he wasn’t telling the truth, I knew that he knew he wasn’t telling the truth.”
Roche is the CEO of a San Francisco-based software company named Helix Re.
Roche’s statements came just hours before news broke early Thursday that the White House was preparing to send the FBI’s completed background check on Kavanaugh to senators, having reviewed it and found no reason not to. A procedural vote to advance his nomination was scheduled for Friday.
Roche had previously issued a statement ahead of the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing in which he expressed support for Deborah Ramirez, one of the accusers, and said he remembered Kavanaugh “frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk.”
In the op-ed, Roche wrote that he was willing to talk to FBI investigators, but when speaking to Anderson Cooper, he said he had “never been contacted about Brett by the FBI, ever.”
“As Brett’s roommate, I’m in a singular position, at least of the people who are willing to talk, to say, ‘Listen, I saw him do this stuff that he said under oath that he didn’t do,” Roche said. “’I saw him use words in a different way than he said under oath they were used.’”
In an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who pushed to delay the vote on Kavanaugh so the FBI could investigate, said the judge would not be confirmed if the probe revealed he had lied to senators.
During the hearing, in response to questions about his drinking habits, Kavanaugh repeatedly denied that he had ever passed out or blacked out from consuming alcohol, only saying that he “likes beer.”
Roche, and others, say this is not true.
“My recollection of my experience with him was that he was drunk frequently,” Roche said on CNN. “It wasn’t drunk to the point of having trouble getting up every month or two, it was frequently. I would say with some confidence it was at least once, maybe twice, on the weekends. It may have even been during the week.”
Kavanaugh would be “incoherent, stumbling” when he came back to their shared room, Roche said. The former roommate also said Kavanaugh had thrown up on more than one occasion after drinking.
“There were times when I did the exact same thing, so we commiserated on this issue,” said Roche, who admitted to not being an “angel” himself during college. “I saw him both what I consider blackout drunk and also dealing with the repercussions of that in the morning.”
Aside from how much he drank, Kavanaugh was also questioned at length by senators about his high school senior yearbook page. The entry included references to drinking and parties as well as to two terms that most likely have never before been spoken aloud inside a Senate hearing room: “boofed” and “Devil’s Triangle.”
When asked to define the terms, both of which refer to vulgar sex acts, Kavanaugh said “boofed” referred to “flatulence” and “Devil’s Triangle” was a drinking game.
In Slate, Roche wrote that the words are sexual references, adding, “I know this because I heard Brett and his friends using these terms on multiple occasions.”
Roche is just one of the people who have appeared suddenly in the national narrative as the drama involving Kavanaugh had unfolded. His name started circulating in the media when he was quoted in a New Yorker story that brought Ramirez’s accusations against Kavanaugh to light.
“I did not want to come forward,” he wrote in the op-ed. “I was raised in a Republican family. My mother, who has since passed away, was a Republican state representative in Connecticut. My father owns a MAGA hat. . . . My involvement has and will come with personal, professional, and reputational damage.”
However, Roche explained that he decided to speak because “Debbie needed someone to help her be heard.” He also told Cooper he believes that Ford is telling the truth.
The issue in Kavanaugh’s situation, Roche said, is not that the judge might have exhibited unbecoming behavior while drunk. Drinking too much, while “terrible” and “dangerous,” was common in college, he said.
“I don’t think that’s disqualifying,” he said. “I don’t think that means you can’t have a strong career or even be a moral person. I don’t think that’s condemning. It is not taking responsibility for your actions that is condemning.”
Roche concluded his op-ed on an equally scathing note.
“We are deciding if a man is suited to judge others,” he wrote. “To hear with compassion and empathy the cases of the vulnerable. As a Supreme Court justice, he would be the last line of legal defense for people who need a champion with unimpeachable judgment. A man who lies effortlessly rather than taking responsibility for his own words and actions is not what we need.”
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