Law & the Courts

Ford’s Friend Felt Pressured to Revise Her Initial Statement Denying Knowledge of Assault

Christine Blasey Ford testifies about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (Gabriella Demczuk/Reuters)

Christine Blasey Ford’s lifelong friend, Leland Keyser, told the FBI she felt pressured by Ford’s allies to reconsider her initial statement in which she denied any knowledge of the high-school gathering where Ford claims she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh.

Keyser specifically accused Monica McLean, a retired FBI agent and friend of Ford’s, of pressuring her to modify her statement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

After sending its report detailing the supplementary background investigation into Kavanaugh to the White House and Senate on Wednesday, the FBI sent additional documentation detailing text-message exchanges between Keyser and McLean that reportedly confirm Keyser’s account of their communications.

In a statement on Friday, McLean’s attorney denied that his client pressured Keyser in any way.

“Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false,” said McLean’s attorney, David Laufman.

In her initial statement, issued on September 23, Keyser denied ever having attended a gathering like the one Ford describes, and she also denied ever having met Kavanaugh. According to Ford, Keyser was downstairs at a house in suburban Maryland when Kavanaugh trapped her in an upstairs bedroom and groped her.

McLean reportedly advised Keyser that her statement would be used by Republican lawmakers to discredit Ford. In order to bolster Ford’s claims, McLean instructed Keyser to revise her statement to reflect that she did not remember the gathering in question, rather than denying it ever took place.

Two days after the public hearing before the Judiciary Committee last week, Keyser’s attorney clarified her position in a letter to the committee, emphasizing his client’s belief in the veracity of Ford’s allegations.

“Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,” Keyser’s attorney wrote. “However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question.”

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