Brett Kavanaugh was accused of trying to rape Christine Blasey Ford at a party when she was 15 and he 17 sometime in the 1980s (she doesn’t remember what year). Ford said that the boozy party at a home near Columbia Country Club outside Washington, D.C., was attended by five people: herself, Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, Patrick Smyth, and Leland Keyser.
When the attempted rape accusation emerged during his Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to join the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh “categorically and unequivocally” denied the allegation. Judge, a longtime friend of Kavanaugh’s, also denied the charge.
Smyth, meanwhile, said he never attended the party.
That left Keyser as the sole possible corroboration for Ford’s story. But through her attorneys, Keyser said at the time that she did not know Kavanaugh and had no memory of the party nor any attempted sexual assault, shattering Ford’s claim. The Washington Post, though, wrote in September 2018 that “she believes Ford’s assertions.”
But a new book now says that Keyser doesn’t believe Ford’s story.
“Buried at the end of their new book ‘The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,’ reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly quietly admit that Christine Blasey Ford’s lifelong friend Leland Keyser did not believe her friend’s tale of a sexual assault at a party they both supposedly attended. Keyser was named by Ford as a witness, one of four who denied any knowledge of the event in question,” reports The Federalist, which got an advance copy of the book.
The book offers no evidence in support of the allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford, but, they write, their “gut reaction” was that her allegations “rang true.”
Their “gut” instinct was based on the fact that Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh grew up in the same rough area and she had dated one of his friends. Further, Leland Keyser had gone out on a date — maybe even two dates, they’re not sure — with a friend of Kavanaugh’s. “None of that means that Ford was, in fact, assaulted by Kavanaugh,” they write, “But it does mean that she has a baseline level of credibility as an accuser.” It is unclear what they mean.
The whole tale falls apart at the end of the book, Mollie Hemingway writes. There, the authors say: “We spoke multiple times to Keyser, who also said that she didn’t recall that get-together or any others like it. In fact, she challenged Ford’s accuracy. ‘I don’t have any confidence in the story.'”
In her own book, “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” Hemingway details the pressure applied on Keyser to get her to back up Ford’s tale. The new book does so, too, saying 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.”
The pressure grew intense. “I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply,” Keyser told the authors.
And the new book delves into one bizarre aspect of Ford’s claim: How she got home after she abruptly left the party, which was miles away from her house.
As previously reported in “Justice on Trial,” Keyser continues to think about the story in which she was supposed to have played a part. She has both “logistical and character-driven” problems with it. Focusing on one of the angles that many women had trouble believing, she says, “It would be impossible for me to be the only girl at a get-together with three guys, have her leave, and then not figure out how she’s going to get home.”
The authors previously note that Blasey Ford suggested that Keyser might have driven her home, which they do not note is a change from her claim that she does not know how she got home. Keyser also reflects that the get-togethers of their youth were not like the one Ford described. She adds, “I just really didn’t have confidence in the story.”
Ford, whose story was never corroborated, collected more than $1 million from a GoFundMe page. In a sad illustration of today’s world, Keyser has collected just $7,865, even though, as her page notes, she “stood up and did what was right when she had everything to lose and nothing to gain.”