Follow Thursday’s live updates here: Christine Blasey Ford to give Senate testimony about sexual assault allegationFeature jump fix

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh is scheduled to appear Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a high-stakes hearing. The committee will hear from Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who says President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers.

Lawmakers from both parties and lawyers for Kavanaugh and Ford maneuvered for advantage on the eve of the hearing, and President Trump weighed in on the fate of his nominee as a new accuser came forward.


7:00 p.m.: Kavanaugh angrily denies accusations in interviews with Senate staff

In interviews with staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Kavanaugh denied every intensely detailed allegation levied against him by two women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

He also vehemently denied two new and unsubstantiated allegations that were passed on to the committee by senators.

“This is crazy town. It’s a smear campaign,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s trying to take me down, trying to take down my family.”

According to transcripts of interviews released Wednesday, Kavanaugh flatly denied Ford’s account that he forced himself on her at a party in high school and Deborah Ramirez’s account that he exposed himself at a party when they were freshmen at Yale University.

Committee staffers interviewed Kavanaugh on Sept. 17 and again on Sept. 25, two days after the New Yorker published a story about Ramirez.

Kavanaugh also denied that he participated in or was witness to gang rape, which lawyer Michael Avenatti had hinted at in communications with committee staff. On Wednesday, Avenatti sent a sworn declaration from his client, Julie Swetnick, to the committee, alleging that Kavanaugh targeted women with alcohol during high school and was present when women were raped by multiple boys.

“That is false. I’ve never participated in gang rape,” Kavanaugh said. “I think it’s absurd, outrageous, a joke, a farce, the Twilight Zone.”

Committee staff asked Kavanaugh question after excruciating question touching on every detail in Ford’s and Ramirez’s accounts, and Kavanaugh forcefully denied every detail. At times, he sounded affronted and angry about the accusations, describing them as an “orchestrated hit to take me out.”

“It’s not appropriate for people to be dredging up uncorroborated stories and trying to refresh other people’s recollections and then stoke the media and create a feeding frenzy and destroy my family and destroy my reputation and take me down,” he said. “This is not right. It’s an outrage.”

Kavanaugh acknowledged knowing Ford but said they didn’t travel in the same circles. He said he couldn’t rule out attending a party with her but does not recall. He also acknowledged knowing Mark Judge,who Ford alleged was present in the room at the time of the attack. Kavanaugh said they were friends in high school and kept in touch “occasionally” after that. “But I have not been in touch with him in several years, putting aside potential group emails that members of my high school class might send out that would include both of us.”

He said he does not remember the party described by Ford. Asked whether he had any physical encounters with Ford, Kavanaugh said: “I did not.”

The answer was the same when he was asked whether he pushed Ford into a bedroom, locked the door, pinned her to a bed or groped her, put his hand over her mouth or tried to remove her clothing.

He said he attended parties often on Saturday nights and drank beer at those parties.

When asked whether he drank to the point he would black out, he said, “No.”

“I did not do this,” he said of the larger accusation. “I did not do this to Ms. Ford or anyone. I want to be categorical and unequivocal that I did not commit sexual assault. That is not me. That was not me.”

Kavanaugh acknowledged that he knew Ramirez in college but flatly denied the allegation of sexual misconduct. “That did not happen,” he said. He said he had had no sexual or romantic encounters with Ramirez and did not recall being at the gathering she described, where a small group of students sat in a circle playing a drinking game.

Kavanaugh also denied an assertion by another former Yale classmate, James Roche, that he was frequently incoherently drunk in college. He said he spent his time at Yale focusing on studying hard enough to get into Yale Law upon graduation — “I worked my ass off” — and on basketball.

Clearly upset about the growing allegations, Kavanaugh pointed to news reports that Ramirez had called friends, asking them whether they remembered who had flashed his genitals at her in college.

Kavanaugh also denied two other allegations of sexual misconduct that had not previously been made public.

He voiced concern about what the “smear campaign” against him would mean for the future of the Supreme Court or for the willingness of others to serve on the court. “Who would want to go through this?” he said. “It’s just — it’s a disgrace.”


6:43 p.m.: Trump: Allegations of his own sexual misconduct ‘absolutely’ affect how he views Kavanaugh

President Trump said Wednesday that his own history of being accused of sexual misconduct “absolutely” changes how he views the allegations against Kavanaugh, saying that these experiences with charges he has denied have influenced his perspective on the issue.

“It does impact my opinion,” said Trump, who has repeatedly questioned the credibility of Kavanaugh’s accusers. “You know why? Because I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me. I’m a very famous person, unfortunately.”

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of misconduct over a period spanning decades, including allegations that he groped women on an airplane, in a nightclub and at the club he owns in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. Trump, who has denied all of the allegations against him and branded his accusers liars, has repeatedly sided with his allies and associates when they have faced charges of misconduct, a list that includes Kavanaugh, Senate candidate Roy Moore and former Fox News titans Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes.

Trump claimed on Wednesday that his accusers “got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me,” apparently referring to a report in the Hill newspaper last year that a lawyer had sought to arrange compensation from tabloid media outlets and donors for some women making allegations.

Trump’s comments did not fully reflect the story, which said that Lisa Bloom, a California lawyer, had represented four women considering making accusations against Trump, two of whom did speak out and two did not. Bloom said after the story was published that her firm received offers of financial support, including from donors, to help with “the safety of women who might still come forward.” She said an unnamed Trump accuser had withdrawn from a planned news conference after receiving “multiple death and rape threats,” and other women who have accused Trump, Kavanaugh and other men have described being harassed and threatened.

In an email, Bloom dismissed Trump’s claims as “ridiculous.”

“No one was paid to make up stories about him,” she wrote.” My clients who spoke out during the campaign about Trump sexually harassing and assaulting them lost work, endured a barrage of online hate (which continues to this day), and had to relocate. Women who speak out about high profile men abusing them stand to lose everything, and they do it anyway, to benefit all of us.”

Trump spoke at length about his accusers during his freewheeling news conference.

“I’ve had numerous accusations about me,” Trump said. “They made false statements about me, knowing they were false. I never met them. I never met these people.”

Many of the women who have accused Trump offered corroboration in the form of people they told at the time or not long after. One of them was a People magazine reporter who wrote about him, while another woman was a contestant on “The Apprentice,” his reality show.

Trump also suggested that women accusing him and other high-profile people had ulterior motives, saying: “People want fame. They want money. They want whatever. So when I see [accusations], I view it differently than somebody sitting at home watching television.”

Some of the women who have accused Trump have specifically said they sought neither notoriety nor money, but instead believed they had a duty to the country or their relatives to share their stories. In light of the #MeToo movement that began last year, his accusers have called on Congress to investigate their claims.

Trump on Wednesday also downplayed the volume of accusations made against him, suggesting that it was only four or five women when the number is more than double that. Eight of his accusers earlier on Wednesday released a joint statement calling Trump’s comments about the Kavanaugh accusations “beyond the pale and utterly lacking credibility” and saying he was using the same tactics to fight these new charges as he did with those made against him.

During the news conference, one of the women who signed that statement — Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of kissing her repeatedly at Trump Tower in 2005 and is now a Democratic candidate for a state office in Ohio — responded to his claims in real time, writing on Twitter: “Nothing false about it. Misogynistic, lying men like you are exactly why we need a change in government & why I’m running for office in Ohio.”

Trump claimed during the election that he would sue the women accusing him, but after he won the White House, he never filed a lawsuit. He is the subject of one suit stemming from the accusations and his response: Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant who claimed Trump groped her, has sued him in New York state court over his claim that his accusers were all lying.

“It is offensive that in purporting to stand by a Supreme Court nominee who has been accused of sexual assault, Mr. Trump has chosen once again to defame and attack women, including our client, who had the courage to come forward to tell the truth about his own unwanted assaultive behavior,” Zervos’s attorney said in a statement Wednesday.


5:55 p.m.: In prepared remarks, Ford says she’s ‘terrified’ to testify

Christine Blasey Ford plans to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that her memories of being assaulted by Brett M. Kavanaugh when they were teenagers “have been seared into my memory and have haunted me” into adulthood.

In her prepared testimony for the scheduled Senate hearing, Ford described being “terrified” of appearing on Capitol Hill to discuss her allegations against Kavanaugh, adding that “apart from the assault itself, these last couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life.”

Ford says she has received an outpouring of support since The Washington Post first reported her name and detailed her allegations, but she also says her “greatest fears have been realized” and even exceeded, describing a wave of harassment and death threats that forced her family from their home.

“I have had to relive my trauma in front of the entire world, and have seen my life picked apart by people on television, in the media, and in this body who have never met me or spoken with me,” she says. “I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives. Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person and I am no one’s pawn.”

Her motivation, she says, is only to tell the senators about how Kavanaugh “damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed.”

In her testimony, Ford says that she and Kavanaugh knew each other and were at the same parties on multiple occasions, contradicting claims he made earlier in the week.

Ford said that her group of friends and Kavanaugh’s “intersected . . . for a short period of time” during her freshman and sophomore years of school. Ford says she was friendly with an unnamed classmate of Kavanaugh’s, which resulted in them attending a number of the same parties.

“We did not know each other well, but I knew him and he knew me,” she said.

During his interview Monday on Fox News, Kavanaugh had disputed that, saying he did not remember ever being at a party with Ford. He added: “I may have met her, we did not travel in the same social circle, she was not a friend, not someone I knew.”

Ford calls the party where she says the assault occurred probably “a spur of the moment gathering,” saying that she did not remember all of the details of the party itself. But she does describe some details of what happened, saying that she had one beer as part of a small group drinking on the first floor of the house. Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, “were visibly drunk,” she says.

She also plans to again describe the alleged assault: During the gathering, she says, someone pushed her into a bedroom upstairs. Kavanaugh and Judge locked the door and turned up the music. She was pushed onto the bed, she says, and Kavanaugh “groped” her, “running his hands all over my body.”

“I believed he was going to rape me,” she says. “I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”


5:42 p.m.: Democrats ask to cancel vote on Kavanaugh

In light of a third accuser against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked late Wednesday that the Republican committee chairman cancel a planned Friday vote on the nomination and join their call for an FBI investigation.

“In light of shocking new allegations detailed by Julie Swetnick in a sworn affidavit, we write to request that the Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh be immediately canceled and that you support the reopening of the FBI investigation to examine all of the allegations against Kavanaugh or withdrawal of his nomination,” the senators wrote in a letter to the chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

The letter, released at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, was signed by all 10 Democrats on the committee and cited the claims Julie Swetnick made against Kavanaugh earlier in the day.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee is not a court of law,” the Democrats wrote to Grassley. “Our job is not to determine whether Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of a crime. Our job is to determine whether Brett Kavanaugh has the character and qualifications to be promoted to the most prestigious and powerful court in the country. It would be an unprecedented abuse of power and abdication of our constitutional responsibilities to move forward with this nomination given the concerns about Brett Kavanaugh’s character and actions.”


5:23 p.m.: Trump: ‘You know what? I could be persuaded’

President Trump told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he could still be persuaded to believe the women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

“You know what? I could be persuaded,” Trump said at a news conference in New York. “I can’t tell you. I have to watch tomorrow.”

Trump said he is not yet familiar with the allegations of the third accuser, Julie Swetnick, whose name surfaced earlier Wednesday. “I can tell you her lawyer is a lowlife,” the president said, referring to Michael Avenatti, who also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who has alleged having an affair with Trump.

Asked if his willingness to listen to the women’s stories means there is a scenario in which he would withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination, Trump said: “If I thought he was guilty of something like this, yeah, sure.”

But Trump also said he believes that some of the accusations against Kavanaugh are false, and he reiterated that the accusations overall represent a “con job” by Democrats seeking to derail the nomination.

He also defended Kavanaugh, calling him “one of the most respected people in Washington” and describing what he considers his own, parallel experiences. “I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me,” he said. “I’m a very famous person, unfortunately.”


4:35 p.m.: Who is Julie Swetnick, the third Kavanaugh accuser?


Brett Kavanaugh sexual misconduct accuser Julie Swetnick. (Courtesy of Michael Avenatti via Twitter)

Julie Swetnick, who Wednesday became the third woman to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, is an experienced web developer in the Washington area who has held multiple security clearances for her work on government-related networks.

The child of two government bureaucrats — her father worked on the lunar orbiter for NASA and her mother was a geologist at the Atomic Energy Commission — has spent most of her life around Washington. Now 55, she grew up in Maryland and graduated in 1980 from Gaithersburg High School, located in a far less affluent section of the same county where Kavanaugh lived and attended an exclusive prep school.

Swetnick’s father, 95, said Wednesday he was shocked to learn from a Washington Post reporter that his daughter had made the explosive allegations. She said in an affidavit that Kavanaugh was present at a house party in 1982 where she alleges she was the victim of a gang rape.

Kavanaugh immediately issued a statement in response: “This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”

Read more about Swetnick here.


4:09 p.m.: Eight Trump accusers criticize the president for attacking Kavanaugh accusers

Eight women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct criticized him Wednesday for his comments questioning the credibility of the accusers of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, calling the president’s remarks “beyond the pale and utterly lacking credibility.”

In a joint statement, the women pointed to their own allegations against Trump, all of which he has denied. Among the women who signed their names to the statement are Rachel Crooks, who accused Trump of kissing her at Trump Tower in 2005; Samantha Holvey, who said Trump barged into the dressing room while she was a Miss USA contestant; and Jessica Leeds, who said Trump groped her on a plane three decades ago.

“We know from personal experience that he is a serial sexual harasser and abuser,” the women said in a statement released by Brave New Films, a liberal group that last year created a short video highlighting the allegations made against the president.

“Trump has dismissed our claims, lied about his conduct and attacked us. Now he’s painting with the same brush to salvage the Kavanaugh nomination. It’s a standard move from his playbook.”

The women called for a “full, independent investigation” of Kavanaugh’s behavior and said senators should not hold a vote on his nomination “until they have all the facts.”

Earlier Wednesday, Trump called the latest accusation from Julie Swetnick “ridiculous.” He declined to answer a reporter’s question about whether he thinks all three Kavanaugh accusers are not telling the truth.

“What’s your next question?” he asked.

Trump’s approach to accusations of sexual assault has been the subject of news stories in recent weeks, since the release of veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.”

“You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” Trump said, according to Woodward’s book. Woodward is an associate editor at The Post. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”


3:16 p.m.: Senate Republicans said they will treat Swetnick’s allegation the same as the first two accusations

The Senate Judiciary Committee has invited Julie Swetnick, the third woman to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, to make a sworn statement.

“We did the same thing with Dr. Ford, we did the same thing with Ms. Ramirez. We’ll do same thing with Mr. Avenatti’s client,” Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) told The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), tweeted that 20 investigators are at work, “tracking down all allegations/leads & talking to all witnesses & gathering all evidence.” He said “seasoned congressional investigators, temporary staff brought on for the nomination as well as “experienced fed agents” on loan from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are on the case.

Kennedy, also a member of the committee, did not commit to the need for a second hearing, but said a statement and an interview must come first. He also described the hearing process as “surreal,” “hijacked” and “political as hell” before adding: “This is no country for creepy young men, creepy old men or creepy middle aged men. But this also no country to deny people due process.”


2:52 p.m.: Lindsey Graham: If Swetnick were a ‘true victim,’ she wouldn't have hired lawyer Michael Avenatti

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, a key ally of President Trump who sits on the Judiciary Committee, dismissed the latest allegation from Julie Swetnick and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Swetnick said in an affidavit released Wednesday that Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she says she was raped by multiple boys. Swetnick is the third accuser to come forward alleging sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.

“If I were a true victim, the last person I would go to is Michael Avenatti,” Graham said. He said he found it hard to believe that “any human being” would know about a culture of gang rape as violent as that described in Swetnick’s affidavit and “not say anything.”

Graham also told reporters: “If you’re going to parties where women are being raped for a two-year period, you have an obligation to go tell the cops, I really believe that.”

“You know what I recommend we do? We take her allegation and give it to the Maryland state police. This is a crime. They’re accusing him of being Bill Cosby as a young man.”


2:10 p.m.: Trump declines to say whether all three accusers are lying

President Trump weighed in some more on the latest allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In front of a White House press pool in a meeting room of the Palace Hotel, Trump called the latest accusation “ridiculous” and reiterated his disdain for the new accuser’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, calling him a “lowlife.”

“People are wise to it,” the president said of his view that the accusations are part of a Democratic smear. Democrats “are bringing people out of the woods. They could do that to anybody — except Prime Minister Abe, because he’s so pure.”

Trump ignored a reporter’s question about whether he believes all three women are lying.

“What’s your next question?” he asked.


1:45 p.m.: Democrats on Judiciary call for Trump to withdraw Kavanaugh

The 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday asked President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh after a third woman accused him of sexual misconduct decades ago.

The Democrats also called for Trump to order an FBI investigation into the alleged behavior of his Supreme Court nominee.

“[Kavanaugh] is asking for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court where he will have the opportunity to rule on matters that will impact Americans for decades,” the Democrats said in a statement. “The standard of character and fitness for a position on the nation’s highest court must be higher than this.”

“Judge Kavanaugh has staunchly declared his respect for women and issued blanket denials of any possible misconduct, but those declarations are in serious doubt,” the statement said.


1:20 p.m. Flake urges senators to recognize humanity of Kavanaugh, accuser

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a key swing vote on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, urged his colleagues Wednesday afternoon to recognize the humanity of the Supreme Court nominee and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has accused him of sexual assault.

“We sometimes seem intent on stripping people of their humanity so that we might more easily disregard or defame them and put them through the grinder that our politics requires,” Flake said during a speech on the Senate floor. “We seem, sometimes, to even enjoy that.”

Flake, a frequent critic of President Trump, also took the president to task for questioning the credibility of Ford because she did not immediately report the assault that she alleges took place while she and Kavanaugh were in high school.

“I do not believe that a claim of sexual assault is invalid because a 15-year-old girl didn’t promptly report the assault to the authorities, as the president of the United States said just two days ago,” Flake said. “How uninformed and uncaring do you have to be to say things like that, much less believe them? Do we have any idea what kind of message that sends, especially to young women? How many times do we have to marginalize and ignore women before we learn that important lesson?”


12:50 p.m.: Trump attacks Avenatti as ‘a total low-life!’

President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing a new accuser of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said in a tweet. “He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!”

Avenatti also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who was paid by a personal attorney for Trump to remain quiet about an alleged decade-old affair with Trump.

On Wednesday, Avenatti revealed that he is representing Julie Swetnick, who said Kavanaugh was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a “gang” rape.


12:45 p.m.: Grassley says new accuser won’t affect Thursday’s hearing

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said the emergence of a third accuser would not affect the hearing scheduled Thursday at which the panel will hear from Christine Blasey Ford about her allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Speaking to reporters, Grassley cited Ford’s welfare.

“I feel we shouldn’t disadvantage Dr. Ford any more than she’s already been disadvantaged,” he said.

Grassley did not rule out an additional committee hearing in response to the latest allegations, however. “We’re going to take this step by step and you’ll have to ask me that question . . . Thursday night,” he said.

Asked whether Swetnick’s decision to engage Michael Avenatti as her attorney undermined her credibility, Grassley said: “It seems to me he wants to protect people who are involved in pornography and that he’s running for president. I don’t know what his motivations are. I don’t know what his reputation as a lawyer is.”

He added: “What’s really important here isn’t the lawyer, it’s the person that claims she’s been harmed.”


12:30: Kavanaugh says third accuser’s allegations are ‘from the Twilight Zone’

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Wednesday dismissed the allegations of a third accuser as “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone.”

His statement, released by the White House, came shortly after Julie Swetnick, a Washington resident, said Kavanaugh was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a “gang” rape.

“This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone,” Kavanaugh said. “I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”


12:20: Schumer calls on GOP to halt confirmation proceedings

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called on Republicans to suspend confirmation proceedings for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh after he was accused of sexual assault decades ago by a third woman.

“There are now multiple, corroborated allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, made under the penalty of perjury, all of which deserve a thorough investigation,” Schumer said in a statement.

“I strongly believe Judge Kavanaugh should withdraw from consideration,” Schumer said. “If he will not, at the very least, the hearing and vote should be postponed while the FBI investigates all of these allegations. If our Republican colleagues proceed without an investigation, it would be a travesty for the honor of the Supreme Court and our country.”

12:15 p.m. Kavanaugh says he is victim of ‘obvious character assassination’

In his prepared testimony for Thursday’s Senate hearing, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh says he was ‘not perfect’ in high school and drank beer with friends but strongly denies having committed sexual assault.

“In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now,” he says, adding that “sometimes I had too many” when he drank beer.

But Kavanaugh says what he has been accused of by Christine Blasey Ford is altogether different.

“What I’ve been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehavior,” Kavanaugh says in testimony released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.”

Kavanaugh says he is the victim of “grotesque and obvious character assassination.”

“There has been a frenzy to come up with something — anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious — that will block a vote on my nomination,” Kavanaugh says, in the testimony released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. “These are last minute smears, pure and simple.”


11 a.m.: Third accuser comes forward, says she was victim of a ‘gang’ rape

A third woman came forward Wednesday to accuse Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, saying he was physically abusive toward girls in high school and present at a house party in 1982 where she says she was the victim of a “gang” rape.

The woman, Julie Swetnick, a Washington resident, is represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti, who revealed her identity on Twitter and posted her photograph.

The Post has not independently verified her allegations regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

In a declaration, Julie Swetnick, who attended Gaithersburg High School, said she observed Kavanaugh drinking excessively at house parties and engaging “in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls.”

Swetnick said she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and others to get girls inebriated so they could be “gang raped” in side rooms at house parties by a “train” of numerous boys.

“I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh.”

Judge is a friend of Kavanaugh whom an earlier accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, said was present when she alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her about 36 years ago.

In her declaration, Swetnick recounts an alleged incident in approximately 1982 in which she says she was the victim of a “gang rape” at which Kavanaugh was present.

She does not say Kavanaugh participated in the alleged rape or what, if any, role he played, nor does she say where the alleged episode took place.

“During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me,” Swetnick says. “I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes or something similar placed in what I was drinking.”

Avenatti, the lawyer who represents adult film actress Stormy Daniels, is exploring a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and spoken out against Trump and his policies, making frequent appearances on cable television.

In his tweet, Avenatti said he is demanding an immediate FBI investigation into his client’s allegations. To this point, Republicans have resisted the idea of an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh’s accusers.

“Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation,” Avenatti said.

A Judiciary Committee spokesman acknowledged having received the declaration from Swetnick.

“This morning Michael Avenatti provided a declaration to the Judiciary Committee,” spokesman Taylor Foy said. “Committee lawyers are in the process of reviewing it now.”

Ford, a professor from California, has alleged that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers in Montgomery County.

A second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale University, told the New Yorker magazine that he exposed himself to her at a party when they were both first-year students.

10 a.m.: McConnell says Democrats dragging Kavanaugh ‘through the mud’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted Democrats on the eve of a hearing featuring an accuser of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, saying they were dragging the Supreme Court nominee and his family “right through the mud.”

In a floor speech, McConnell noted that the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford had been relayed to a Democratic senator in a confidential letter that did not leak out until the confirmation process was nearing its end.

“What lessons can we draw from this?” McConnell said. “If you write to Senate Democrats in complete confidence about an extremely sensitive matter, you will soon wind up a household name, and if you’re a public servant whose confirmation the far left happens to oppose because they dislike the fact that you will interpret the law and the constitution according to what they mean ... they will not hesitate to weaponize uncorroborated allegations and drag your name and your family right through the mud. That’s what these guys will do to you.”


9:30 a.m.: Trump praised Kavanaugh as ‘an absolute gem’

President Trump on Wednesday called Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh “an absolute gem” and again accused Democrats of a “con game” as they try to derail his Supreme Court nominee.

In comments at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Trump also praised the work of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying they had been very respectful of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, a professor from California.

“The Republicans could not be nicer, could not be more respectful of the process, certainly could not be more respectful to the woman, and I’m okay with that.” Trump said. “I think I might have pushed it forward a lot faster.”

He also praised Kavanaugh, saying he is “outstanding.”

“You don’t find people like this,” Trump said. “He’s outstanding. He’s a gem. He’s an absolute gem, and he’s been treated very unfairly by the Democrats, who are playing a con game. They know what they’re doing. It’s a con. They go into a backroom and they talk with each other and they laugh at what they’re getting away with.”


9:20 a.m.: Ford releases sworn declarations from husband and three friends

Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers, have sent four sworn declarations to the Senate from people who say Ford told them of her allegations before Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court.

The declarations — from Ford’s husband and three friends — do not provide direct corroboration of the alleged attack but suggest Ford shared details about her recollection in the years before Kavanaugh’s nomination by President Trump on July 9.

Only one account, from Russell Ford, the husband of the California professor, has been previously reported.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Kavanaugh released five pages of his calendar from 1982 to news organizations in an attempt to bolster his contention that he was not at a house party with Ford 36 years ago.

The calendar, which has been shared with the Judiciary Committee, includes several weeks that summer, which were blocked out for trips to the beach and sports camps. It also includes many detailed appointments, such as one for a haircut.

Read the entire story here.


7:45 a.m.: Ramirez lawyer says she would be willing to testify

John Clune, a lawyer for a second accuser of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, said Wednesday morning that his client would be willing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee but wants the FBI to investigate her claims.

Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale University, told the New Yorker magazine that he exposed himself to her at a party when they were both first-year students.

“She would be willing to testify, but she wants to us to be able to have this conversation about what this is going to look like, what the process is going to be and if there is going to be an FBI investigation into what happened in her case.”

Republicans have resisted calls from Democrats to have the FBI investigate Kavanaugh’s accusers.


7:30 a.m.: Kavanaugh lawyer says focus on drinking is ‘totally unfair’

Beth Wilkinson, a lawyer for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, said Wednesday that it is “totally unfair” for critics of the Supreme Court nominee to suggest that an admission that he drank beer in high school had some bearing on allegations of sexual assault.

During an appearance on “CBS This Morning,” Wilkinson also downplayed the importance of items on Kavanaugh’s yearbook page, saying they were not evidence of an assault against Christine Blasey Ford.

“When [Kavanaugh] spoke on television the other day, he admitted that, you know, he has had beers,” Wilkinson said. “I think that’s true of most people in college. He’s admitted that maybe he drank more than he should have on certain occasions, and of course he has his yearbook page. I think most of us would go back and probably wish we could rewrite our yearbook page, whether it was, you know, our choice of music or the kind of silly, stupid things that we put on there.”

“But that really doesn’t go to whether he did what he’s accused of,” she said. “I think that’s really the problem. I think because people can’t find corroboration for these things, they’re now going out and saying, ‘Well, he was doing other things that make you think it’s more likely.’”

Gabriel Pogrund, Seung Min Kim, Sean Sullivan, Mark Berman, Tom Hamburger, Terri Rupar and Emma Brown contributed to this report.