Monday 17 December 2018

Trump backing Kavanaugh as second accuser comes forward

Fresh allegation of sexual misconduct levelled at president's nominee for the US Supreme Court

Outspoken and angry: People protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty
Outspoken and angry: People protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Susan Heavy

President Donald Trump defended his US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh yesterday after a second woman came forward with an allegation of sexual misconduct against the judge that has further complicated his confirmation prospects in the senate.

"Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding person. I am with him all the way," Mr Trump said after arriving in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, calling the allegations against his nominee for a lifetime post on the top US court politically motivated.

On Sunday night, the 'New Yorker' magazine published an article in which a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, described an instance of alleged sexual misconduct by Mr Kavanaugh that dates to the 1983-84 academic year when both attended Yale University.

 

Ms Ramirez is cited by the 'New Yorker' as saying Mr Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken dormitory party.

Mr Trump stood by Mr Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge, as the new allegations threatened to upend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Thursday to hear testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in California who has accused Mr Kavanaugh of sexual assault in 1982. Mr Kavanaugh, also due to testify at the Judiciary Committee hearing, has denied the accusations by Ms Ford and Ms Ramirez.

After the new allegations surfaced, Democrats called for a delay in Thursday's hearing.

Mr Trump made clear he considered the allegations politically motivated. "For people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago, and 30 years ago and never mention it - all of a sudden it happens," Mr Trump said. "In my opinion, it's totally political. It's totally political."

The controversy over Mr Kavanaugh is unfolding just weeks before November 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are trying to take control of Congress from Mr Trump's Republicans.

Ms Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, has said Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982 when both were high school students in Maryland. She accused him of attacking her and trying to remove her clothing while he was drunk at a party when he was 17 and she was 15.

In a TV interview yesterday, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said the White House took the allegations seriously and that Ramirez should contact the committee if she also wants to testify.

Irish Independent

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