On her media tour promoting her piece with Ronan Farrow, Jane Mayer has fleshed out some details about how the story came together:
The story broke overnight, but it dates back 35 years. People remember at the time who were — a classmate at Yale remembers this. He heard it that night, I think, right after it or the next day. And she didn’t come forward with it. What happened was the classmates at Yale were talking to each other about it, they were emailing about it, we’ve seen the emails back in July, before Christine Blasey Ford came forward. And eventually the word of it spread.
After The New Yorker reached out to her, Ramirez (as reported in the story) spent six days “carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney” before deciding to go on the record. The New York Times reports that Ramirez “herself contacted former Yale classmates asking if they recalled the incident and told some of them that she could not be certain Mr. Kavanaugh was the one who exposed himself.”
Mayer seems to be very careful in claiming only one (anonymous) classmate remembers hearing (secondhand) that Kavanaugh participated in such an incident — though multiple people obviously engaged in these email exchanges — and she and Farrow have been explicit from the start that they have located no eyewitnesses.
These emails would appear to be important evidence regarding how this ball got rolling. They also may bear on the question of whether Ramirez’s memory closely matches the anonymous source’s simply because they’re both the account that was circulating while Ramirez was putting her memories together and contacting her former classmates. Let’s see them.