The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has urged the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate a second woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual impropriety during his nomination process, the committee announced Friday via Twitter.
The committee had previously referred a Rhode Island man to the FBI for investigation after he admitted that the allegations he made against the judge were false.
In the Friday letter, sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said that the woman in question recanted her story under examination.
The woman is apparently the subject of the “Jane Doe” letter that had been publicized by California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris toward the end of the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
Today, Chairman @ChuckGrassley referred Judy Munro-Leighton to @TheJusticeDept for investigation for making materially false statements to the Committee during the course of its investigation. https://t.co/pNfhLRnETy
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) November 2, 2018
Under questioning by Committee investigators, Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original “Jane Doe” letter.
— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) November 2, 2018
“I am once again writing regarding fabricated allegations the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary recently received,” the letter read.
“As explained below, I am writing to refer Ms. Judy Munro-Leighton for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 (materially false statements) and 1505 (obstruction), for materially false statements she made to the Committee during the course of the Committee’s investigation.”
“On September 25, 2018, staffers for Senator Harris, a Committee member, referred an undated handwritten letter to Committee investigators that her California office had received signed under the alias ‘Jane Doe’ from Oceanside, California,” the letter continued.
“The letter contained highly graphic sexual-assault accusations against Judge Kavanaugh. The anonymous accuser alleged that Justice Kavanaugh and a friend had raped her ‘several times each’ in the backseat of a car. In addition to being from an anonymous accuser, the letter listed no return address, failed to provide any timeframe, and failed to provide any location — beyond an automobile — in which these alleged incidents took place.”
When investigators caught up to her, however, she told a dramatically different story, disavowing that the incident ever took place.
“She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she ‘just wanted to get attention’; (2) ‘it was a tactic’; and (3) ‘that was just a ploy,'” the letter stated.
“She told Committee investigators that she had called Congress multiple times during the Kavanaugh hearing process – including prior to the time Dr. Ford’s allegations surfaced — to oppose his nomination. Regarding the false sexual-assault allegation she made via her email to the Committee, she said: ‘I was angry, and I sent it out.’ When asked by Committee investigators whether she had ever met Judge Kavanaugh, she said: ‘Oh Lord, no.'”
“The Committee is grateful to citizens who come forward with relevant information in good faith, even if they are not one hundred percent sure about what they know,” the letter concludes.
“But when individuals intentionally mislead the Committee, they divert Committee resources during time-sensitive investigations and materially impede our work. Such acts are not only unfair; they are potentially illegal. It is illegal to make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators. It is illegal to obstruct Committee investigations.”
There isn’t a whole lot to add to this whole sordid mess, aside from the fact that it proves why “believe all women” doesn’t work in a political context. Any individual should be given due process before losing their livelihood or good name, either in the media or in court, before an accusation is taken as truth.
However, it’s more likely than not that if scores of individuals are accusing, say, Kevin Spacey or James Toback of untoward behavior, there’s not necessarily a monolithic motive all of them might plausibly have in common to frame an individual for sexual misconduct, no matter how famous they might be.
When it comes to politics, that changes dramatically: Making false allegations is “a tactic,” a motive literally anyone diametrically opposed to the politics of an individual could have in common. In this case, it could have delayed or denied a man a seat on the Supreme Court. It could have forever altered the composition of the court, period.
“Believe all women” isn’t a stellar, unimpeachable aphorism in any circumstance, but one can be excused for at least giving it a hearing when it comes to random celebrities accused of unspeakable acts. In politics, however, I can tell you why you can’t “believe all women”: Judy Munro-Leighton.
Just a little over a month after Kamala Harris was hawking the “Jane Doe” letter as proof of why Kavanaugh ought to be banished from public life, “Jane Doe” is on record as admitting she did it merely to try and ensure Brett Kavanaugh’s banishment from public life.
This isn’t to say that Christine Blasey Ford or Deborah Ramirez were prima facie liars. However, let’s please stop pretending that they’re beyond all reproach. By that logic, Judy Munro-Leighton would be, too.
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