Ka­vanaugh ac­cuser Ramirez con­tacted by FBI: lawyer

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON (Reuters) - The at­tor­ney for the sec­ond woman to ac­cuse Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh of sex­ual mis­con­duct said yes­ter­day that FBI agents as­signed to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions have con­tacted her.

The an­nounce­ment by Deb­o­rah Ramirez’s lawyer John Clune in­di­cates that the FBI probe of Ka­vanaugh, or­dered by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day, will look beyond sep­a­rate al­le­ga­tions of at­tempted rape lev­eled against the con­ser­va­tive fed­eral ap­peals court judge by Dr Chris­tine Blasey Ford at a dra­matic Se­nate hear­ing this week.

“We can con­firm the FBI has reached out to in­ter­view Ms Ramirez and she has agreed to co­op­er­ate with their in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Clune said in a tweet. “Out of re­spect for the in­tegrity of the process, we will have no fur­ther com­ment at this time.”

Ramirez al­leges that Ka­vanaugh ex­posed his pe­nis to her dur­ing a drunken party at a Yale Univer­sity dor­mi­tory, when they were un­der­grad­u­ates.

Ka­vanaugh de­nies both Ford’s and Ramirez’s al­le­ga­tions.

Trump yes­ter­day again backed Ka­vanaugh, call­ing him “a good man” and “a great judge.”

Asked if he had a backup can­di­date for the Supreme Court seat, Trump told re­porters: “I don’t have a backup plan. I don’t need a backup. I think he’s go­ing to be fine.”

Michael Ave­natti, the at­tor­ney for a third Ka­vanaugh ac­cuser, Julie Swet­nick, said in an email to Reuters that his client has not been con­tacted by in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Ford, a Cal­i­for­nia univer­sity pro­fes­sor, de­tailed for the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee her claims that Ka­vanaugh tried to rape her at a party in 1982 when the two were still high school teenagers.

If con­firmed to a life­time Supreme Court ap­point­ment, Ka­vanaugh would con­sol­i­date con­ser­va­tive con­trol of the na­tion’s high­est court and ad­vance Trump’s ef­fort to shift the Amer­i­can ju­di­ciary to the right.

The al­le­ga­tions against Ka­vanaugh, with the back­drop of the #MeToo move­ment against sex­ual ha­rass­ment and as­sault that has top­pled a suc­ces­sion of pow­er­ful men, have riv­eted the coun­try even as they raised doubts about his con­fir­ma­tion chances.

Trump was forced to or­der the FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter Repub­li­can Se­na­tor Jeff Flake threat­ened to vote against Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion un­less Repub­li­cans who con­trol the Se­nate agreed to the new probe.

Flake was sup­ported by two other Repub­li­can mod­er­ates, Lisa Murkowski and Su­san Collins, both of whom have not an­nounced whether they would sup­port Ka­vanaugh.

Repub­li­cans hold a slim 51-49 ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, mak­ing the votes of Murkowski and Collins cru­cial. Trump can af­ford to lose the vote of only one se­na­tor in his own party if all the Democrats vote against Ka­vanaugh and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence casts a tie-break­ing vote.

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