The Slatest

Ted Cruz Says Mark Judge, Alleged Kavanaugh Accomplice, Would Take the Fifth if Called Before Congress

Judge, wearing a red Washington Nationals shirt, speaks on a phone while walking through a parking lot.
Mark Judge in Bethany Beach, Delaware, after being located by a reporter on Monday. Gabriel Pogrund/The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the key points of contention between Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee right now is whether a writer named Mark Judge should be called to testify about Brett Kavanaugh. Judge, a close friend of Kavanaugh’s during high school, is accused by Christine Blasey Ford of having been present in the room where Kavanaugh forced her down and attempted to rape her. Judge has said in brief written statements to the committee that he does not want to testify and does “not recall” the event described by Ford having taken place. If subpoenaed, though, Judge wouldn’t simply be able to issue a blanket denial; he’d be asked to respond to specific questions about the alleged assault and Kavanaugh’s high school conduct more broadly.

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking at the Committee’s Friday meeting, said such a subpoena would be pointless because even if Judge were called to testify, he’d plead the Fifth:

It is not complicated what would happen if he were subpoenaed. If he came before this committee, any defense lawyer would tell Mr. Judge not to testify. Now I understand politically Democratic members of the Senate would very much like to see a man who has struggled with addiction most of his life pleading the Fifth. At that would make great theatrics. That would make a great political theatrics. It wouldn’t help one iota in the search for the truth. 

This is strange for Cruz to acknowledge given that he—and nearly every other Republican—are insistent that it’s been proven that no assault involving Kavanaugh and Judge ever took place, and beyond that that no party like the one Ford describes ever took place. If that’s such an established fact, then how could Judge possibly put himself in legal jeopardy by stating as much at a hearing? What potentially incriminating statement—whether an admission of a criminal act or a perjurious denial thereof—could he possibly make about an event that absolutely, definitely never took place?

Of course, what Cruz might realize is that one of Kavanaugh’s 1982 calendar entries does describe a party with “Judge” that fits Ford’s description and that a passage in one of Judge’s books about working at a supermarket in the summer of 1982 matches Ford’s description of seeing him some time after the assault at a Safeway. A college ex-girlfriend of Judge’s also recently told the New Yorker that he once told her he’d been part of a group of boys that had sex with a drunk woman, though he apparently believed the sex was consensual. So there is, in fact, some reason to believe that Judge engaged in crude and possibly illegal sexual conduct while he was Kavanaugh’s close friend. And there’s thus a hypothetical possibility that Judge’s testimony—in addition to possibly undermining Kavanaugh’s denial that he ever even heard of egregious sexual misconduct taking place when he was in high school—could implicate Judge in crimes.

I still can’t figure out why Ted Cruz would admit this, though! And in any case, a motion to subpoena Judge was voted down Friday morning on party lines.