A friend of Christine Blasey Ford who initially said she knew nothing about the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said she felt pressure to change her statement to say she believed Ford but couldn’t corroborate the allegations.
Leland Keyser told investigators that retired FBI agent and Ford’s friend, Monica McLean, urged her to clarify her statement, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
Ford has said Keyser was present at the high school get together where the alleged assault took place.
On Sept. 23, Keyser’s lawyer sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming she had no recollection of attending a party where Kavanaugh was present. The letter also said Keyser did not know Kavanaugh.
That same day, Keyser told the Washington Post that she believed Ford. A few days later, after Ford and Kavanaugh testified before the committee, Keyser’s lawyer sent another letter claiming his client was not refuting Ford’s account of the incident and that she believed Ford but could not corroborate the allegations.
A person familiar with the process said that after sending its report on the investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh on Thursday, the FBI sent the White House and Senate a package of information that included text messages between McLean and Keyser.
“Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false,” McLean’s lawyer said in a statement.
Kavanaugh has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct and his nomination is set to be debated and voted on in the Senate Friday.
A person close with the former classmates told the Journal that mutual friends of Ford and Keyser, including McLean, contacted Keyser after her original statement to warn her it was being used by Republicans to argue against the allegations against Kavanaugh.
The sources says the friends suggested Keyser say she didn’t remember the party instead of say it had never happened.