Law & the Courts

New York Times Walks Back New Kavanaugh Sexual-Misconduct Accusation

Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. February 5, 2019. (Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters)

The New York Times on Sunday was forced to walk back a new sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, updating a bombshell article to clarify that the alleged victim has no memory of the incident.

The opinion essay by Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and  details their upcoming book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation” and describes several sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, including a previously unreported claim that the FBI did not investigate during the judge’s contentious confirmation process.

Kavanaugh’s high school classmate, Christine Blasey Ford, testified to Congress during his confirmation hearings that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth at a drunken house party when they were teenagers. Several other accusations surfaced against him during those weeks, including from a Yale classmate, Deborah Ramirez, who claimed that Kavanaugh had thrust his penis in her face at a drunken dormitory party, causing her to push it away and accidentally touch it.

The Times reporters detailed a previously unreported alleged incident similar to the Ramirez one. Another Yale classmate, Max Stier, who now heads a Washington nonprofit, told Congress and the FBI that he had witnessed Kavanaugh “with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” The FBI did not investigate that allegation.

However, the paper updated the story later to say that the book “did not include one element of the book’s account” of the new incident.

“The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident,” the Times’ correction reads.

The New York Times Opinion Twitter account also deleted and apologized for an “offensive” tweet on the Kavanaugh opinion essay.

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