Brett Kavanaugh’s attorney Beth Wilkinson appeared on CNN on Wednesday to respond to a new allegation that the Supreme Court nominee engaged in sexual abuse while in high school.
Her defense of Kavanaugh seemed to hinge on the argument that his accusers have not called for authorities to investigate the alleged conduct, while at the same time insisting that no such investigation should take place. (Multiple accusers have called for an investigation, but Donald Trump’s Justice Department has declined to reopen Kavanaugh’s FBI background check before the Senate votes.)
Here is footage of Wilkinson saying one thing, and then saying the complete opposite thing within seconds.
Beth Wilkinson: There’s no excuse for [Julie Swetnick’s] lawyer [Michael Avenatti] not going straight to the police. There’s no one stopping any investigation and any lawyer worth their salt would put their clients’ interest first and go straight to the police, or to the FBI. And it is absolutely outrageous that this is being launched the day before without having some kind of investigation. It’s absolutely outrageous.
Wolf Blitzer: Should there be a full-scale FBI investigation, not only of Julie Swetnick’s, this third woman’s allegations, but the other two women’s allegations as well?
Wilkinson: No, no, no.
Blitzer then pointed out that Swetnick, the woman at the center of the new allegation, had submitted a sworn declaration under penalty of perjury to the Senate Judiciary Committee saying she was at high school parties in the early 1980s where she saw Kavanaugh participate in sexual abuse. Wilkinson responded that the sworn statement to the Judiciary Committee wasn’t enough, and that Avenatti and Swetnick should have gone to police or the FBI.
“Those are not law enforcement people,” Wilkinson said. “If you believe that these crimes were committed against your client, you should go immediately to law enforcement. Everyone is saying those are the people who have the right tools to investigate.”
Again, Blitzer asked Wilkinson if she was calling for an investigation, which she had just seemed to demand. Again, she declined.
Blitzer: You’re a former federal prosecutor. You could ask the FBI to investigate these allegations as well?
Wilkinson: I’m not the attorney for this woman.
And here’s what happened when Blitzer asked a third time.
Blitzer: You could try to clear any insinuation against your client, Judge Kavanaugh.
Wilkinson: No. … I’m asking you why in this process which has been so debased on both sides, why are people who have these serious allegations not going to law enforcement themselves and saying, take a look at this?
Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault, has repeatedly asked for such a probe, but her request was rejected. Multiple witnesses have since come forward with their own sworn declarations to the committee saying Blasey Ford previously told them of the alleged attack. Blasey Ford also released a polygraph test to the committee.
In similar situations in the past, specifically after sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation process, the FBI has reopened its background check and interviewed relevant witnesses. The Senate Judiciary Committee, though, is ignoring precedent, likely because of a political calendar that involves the possibility that the GOP might lose control of the Senate in November’s midterm elections.
Blasey Ford and Swetnick’s attorney have also requested that Mark Judge, who was a key figure in both women’s accounts, at least be called to testify. The committee has refused that request as well, possibly because Judge’s past writings about his own history with drugs and alcohol do not make him an ideal character witness.
On Wednesday, when Wilkinson claimed that there were no other witnesses to Judge’s misconduct, Blitzer asked if the committee should call Judge, who has denied the allegations, to the stand. She rejected this request as well.
Wilkinson: They allege in there that there’s other that people that can [testify]. Why haven’t they brought those people forward?
Blitzer: Why not Mark Judge? Why not ask him to come testify before the committee, if they were so close, Judge Kavanagh and Mark Judge.
Wilkinson: Judge Kavanagh doesn’t control the asking who testifies in front of the committee.
Blitzer: Would you like him to come forward and testify?
Wilkinson: Mark Judge has said he doesn’t want to. He has given a statement saying none of this happened and it is totally inconsistent with the conduct and the person he knows, the integrity, and the type of person that Judge Kavanagh is. He’s given a statement and you know what’s happened to him? He become harassed, he’s had to leave, he’s had to hire a lawyer. He wrote a book about his own alcohol and drug use. He was open and honest about that. And he doesn’t want to become part of the circus? And how could you blame him?
So in summation, Kavanaugh’s legal defense and standard of evidence for confirmation for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court are, respectively: His accusers should have asked for an investigation, and there shouldn’t be an investigation; his accusers don’t have any witnesses, also don’t call the primary witness. Got it.
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