A new book written by two New York Times journalists, an excerpt of which has sparked a media firestorm and much criticism directed at the paper, contains details that CBS describes as the “real bombshell” the Times’ initial report missed. The long-time “close friend” of Christine Blasey Ford, who Ford named as a potential witness to the alleged sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh back in high school, not only says she does not believe Ford’s accusation, but told the FBI that allies of Ford threatened her with a smear campaign to change her story.
Leland Keyser, a long-time “close friend” of Ford, is one of four people Ford named as supposedly being at the alleged party where she said Kavanaugh tried to force himself on her. In its report Monday, CBS Evening News notes that with Keyser’s first public statements on her friend’s allegations, which she gave in an interview with Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, all four of the people Ford claims were at the party now flatly deny that it ever happened.
As The Daily Wire reported Monday, Keyser also says that Ford’s allies attempted to pressure her to change the story, telling the FBI that those allies even threatened to mount a smear campaign against her if she didn’t — a claim previously revealed by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino in their book, “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court.”
In a tweet Monday promoting the CBS report, CBS’s Jan Crawford underscored the “real bombshell” highighted by the network (h/t Ed Morrissey): “We report tonight the real bombshell: Christine Ford’s close HS friend (who Ford says was at the party when Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her) said Ford’s story is not believable and told the FBI Ford’s allies pressured her, threatened her with a smear campaign to say otherwise.”
As The Daily Wire reported Monday, Hemingway and Severino’s book, which was published in July but largely ignored by the media, unlike the new Times reporters’ book, referenced the alleged attempt to pressure Keyser. In a report for The Federalist Monday, Hemingway summarized the revelations in their book that the Times reporters confirmed and elaborated upon:
The authors also acknowledge what had previously been reported in “Justice on Trial,” about the efforts of mutual friends to get her to change her testimony to be more supportive of Blasey Ford. The reporters say that some of Blasey Ford’s friends “had grown frustrated with Keyser. Her comments about the alleged Kavanaugh incident had been too limited, some of them felt, and did not help their friend’s case. Surely, given what a close friend Keyser had been, she could say more to substantiate Ford’s testimony and general veracity, even if she could not corroborate Ford’s more specific memories.”
A group text was formed in which friends such as Cheryl Amitay and Lulu Gonella discussed how to get her to say something more helpful to the cause. An unnamed man on the text suggested that they defame her as an addict. Keyser has been in recovery for some time, as her friends know and as has previously been reported.
Amitay answered, “Leland is a major stumbling block.” While asserting she didn’t want her to make anything up out of whole cloth, she offered ideas for things that could sound supportive of Ford’s story, such as that she’d been in similar situations with Blasey Ford that summer.
“I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply,” Keyser told the reporters, a stunning admission of the pressure to which she was subjected to by Blasey Ford’s allies.