The Corner

Politics & Policy

Leland Keyser’s New Letter Tells Us Nothing New

Christine Blasey Ford listens to her attorney Michael Bromwich while testifying for the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (Win McNamee/Reuters)

Late last night, an attorney for Leland Keyser sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual-assault allegation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In the letter, he reiterated Keyser’s initial statement, made under penalty of felony, in which she said she has never met Kavanaugh and has no recollection that the party Ford describes ever occurred.

This new letter, however, has been cast as Keyser walking back her initial refutation of Ford’s story. In fact, the letter itself states, “Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account.”

CNN, as just one example, quickly glommed onto this line, reporting that Keyser “does not refute the veracity of the allegation.” But this assertion, whether in Keyser’s letter or in the breathless media coverage of it, makes no sense whatsoever.

Keyser has now twice stated that she never attended the party Ford describes. Whether or not she believes her friend is irrelevant; her testimony directly contradicts Ford’s claim.

It’s understandable, and perhaps commendable, that Keyser wishes to be loyal to her friend, but with both her initial testimony and yesterday’s letter to the committee, she has provided substantive evidence that her friend is wrong, at least insofar as the accusation relates to Kavanaugh.

Despite her obvious desire to help Ford, Keyser hasn’t provided the corroboration of verifying that the event in question took place as Ford describes it. It is impossible for her to say that she believes she story as it’s being told when she simultaneously admits that she’s never met Kavanaugh and wasn’t at any such party.

Providing false evidence under oath is a crime. Saying you believe something, by contrast, is non-falsifiable. Keyser’s new letter isn’t a development bolstering Ford’s story; it’s a belief statement that can’t be contradicted, and it’s therefore largely meaningless.

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