Sunday 21 April 2019

Kavanaugh ex-classmate describes him as ‘frequent, heavy drinker’

A man who went to Yale University at the same time as the US supreme court nominee said he could be aggressive when drunk.

US supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (AP)
US supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (AP)

By Darlene Superville and Michael Balsamo

A Yale University classmate of Brett Kavanaugh has disputed the US supreme court nominee’s characterisation of his drinking while in college.

Charles “Chad” Ludington said Mr Kavanaugh was “a frequent drinker, and a heavy drinker”.

In a statement, he added that Mr Kavanaugh was often belligerent and aggressive when drunk.

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Mr Kavanuagh’s nomination has sparked widespread protests (AP)

The FBI has begun investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by an intoxicated Mr Kavanaugh in high school and college, allegations the appeals court judge flatly denies.

One of the three women accusing Mr Kavanaugh, Deborah Ramirez, spoke to FBI agents on Sunday.

It is understood that she provided details about her allegation that Mr Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in the early 1980s when they were students at Yale.

Mr Kavanaugh has denied Ms Ramirez’s allegation.

A source said Ms Ramirez also provided investigators with the names of others who she said could corroborate her account.

Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who said Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, has not been contacted by the FBI since Mr Trump ordered the agency to take another look at the nominee’s background, according to a member of Ms Ford’s team.

Mr Kavanaugh has denied assaulting Ms Ford.

Mr Ludington said he is “deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterisation by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale”.

The North Carolina State University teacher said: “On many occasions I heard Brett slur his words and saw him staggering from alcohol consumption, not all of which was beer. When Brett got drunk, he was often belligerent and aggressive.”

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Donald Trump has said he is not limiting the time and scope of the FBI probe (AP)

While saying that youthful drinking should not condemn a person for life, Mr Ludington said he was concerned about Mr Kavanaugh’s statements under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Republicans and Democrats have quarrelled over whether the FBI would have enough time and freedom to conduct a thorough investigation before a high-stakes vote on Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination to America’s highest court.

The White House insisted it is not “micro-managing” the new one-week review of Mr Kavanaugh’s background, but some Democratic members of congress have claimed the White House is keeping investigators from interviewing certain witnesses.

US president Donald Trump, for his part, tweeted that no matter how much time and discretion the FBI was given, “it will never be enough” for Democrats trying to keep Mr Kavanaugh off the bench.

Speaking to the issue of the scope of the FBI’s investigation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said White House counsel Don McGahn, who is managing Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination, “has allowed the senate to dictate what these terms look like, and what the scope of the investigation is”.

Ms Sanders added: “The White House isn’t intervening. We’re not micro-managing this process. It’s a senate process. It has been from the beginning, and we’re letting the senate continue to dictate what the terms look like.”

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway said the investigation will be “limited in scope” and “will not be a fishing expedition. The FBI is not tasked to do that”.

Senate judiciary committee member Jeff Flake requested an investigation last Friday – after he and other Republicans on the panel voted along strict party lines in favour of Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation – as a condition for his own subsequent vote to put Mr Kavanaugh on the supreme court.

Another committee member, senator Lindsey Graham, said testimony would be taken from Ms Ramirez and Mr Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who has been named by two of three women accusing Mr Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

“I think that will be the scope of it. And that should be the scope of it,” Mr Graham said.

Press Association

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