Text messages between two former classmates of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and one of the women who has accused him of sexual misconduct suggest Kavanaugh and members of his team were working alongside friends to discredit the allegations before they were made public, according to a report Monday.
The text messages show correspondence between Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, who both attended Yale University with Kavanaugh and Deborah Ramirez. Ramirez has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party their freshman year of college in the 1980s, an allegation that was made public on Sept. 23 in the New Yorker. Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he was not aware of Ramirez’s allegations until the article was published.
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But the text messages raise questions about whether Kavanaugh expected Ramirez to bring forward her allegation, as a memo written by Berchem details that Kavanaugh “and/or" his friends “may have initiated an anticipatory narrative” as soon as July in an effort to keep the allegations hidden or raise doubts about Ramirez, NBC News reports.
Several texts that were exchanged before the New Yorker piece was published also show that Yarasavage had been communicating with “Brett’s guy” and with “Brett.” The texts show that Kavanaugh wanted Yarasavage to go on the record to deny Ramirez’s allegations.
The texts also indicate that Kavanaugh retrieved a copy of a photograph from friends featuring him with Berchem, Yarasavage, and Ramirez. The photo was taken at a 1997 wedding and was intended to show that he was smiling with Ramirez. However, Bercham told Yarasavage that Ramirez was trying to avoid Kavanaugh at the wedding.
“I understand that President Trump and the U.S. Senate have ordered an FBI investigation into certain allegations of sexual misconduct by the nominee Brett Kavanaugh,” Berchem said in a statement to NBC News. “I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him. However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations. I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate.”
Berchem first submitted a memo detailing her communications with Yarasavage to FBI agent J.C. McDonough on Sunday and re-sent the memo along with screenshots of some of the messages on Monday. She has not heard back from the FBI, but expects that she will receive a response.
The FBI is conducting a supplemental background investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations of misconduct, and the Senate is waiting to vote to confirm him until the FBI’s investigation concludes this week.