Mark Judge, the man who is said to have witnessed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford more than 30 years ago, said on Tuesday that he would not speak publicly about the allegations.
“I have no memory of this alleged incident. Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter,” Judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a statement sent by his lawyer. “... I have no more information to offer the committee and I do not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford’s letter.”
Senate Democrats were pressing their Republican counterparts on Tuesday to invite Judge to testify in front of the committee next week alongside both Kavanaugh and his accuser.
But Republicans have rebuffed those requests, and Ford has yet to confirm her appearance at the Monday hearing.
Judge was identified by Ford as the third person in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her during a house party when they were in high school. According to Ford, Judge turned up the music as she was screaming while Kavanaugh was pinning her down.
Both Judge and Kavanaugh have denied Ford’s allegations.
“How could we want to get the truth and not have Mr. Judge come to the hearing?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked from the Senate floor on Tuesday.
“He is identified specifically, personally, as an eyewitness to the occurrence. He should testify,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) echoed to reporters.
Republicans have indicated that they are not inclined to compel Judge to testify. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the judiciary committee, told radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning that Kavanaugh and Ford would be the only two witnesses present at Monday’s hearing. Moreover, Republicans publicly have batted down the idea of inviting Judge or Ford’s therapist, who documented Ford’s retelling of the alleged incident in 2012.
“There have been extensive investigations, including an FBI investigation of this nomination. Everything the FBI traditionally investigates has been investigated,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters. “So if there are other witnesses, people with knowledge, then the staff on a bipartisan basis [should] interview them if they make themselves available. And that interview is then made a part of the file. … The most relevant witnesses are the accuser and the accused.”
But the specific incident that Ford alleges has not been completely vetted. All 10 Democrats on the judiciary committee formally asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to investigate Ford’s allegations, but the bureau has thus far declined to pursue one. Democrats have said Monday’s hearing should not happen until an investigation is complete—and, at a minimum, it should feature more witnesses.
“Compare that to the 22 witnesses at the 1991 Anita Hill hearing and it’s impossible to take this process seriously,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the committee, said in a statement, referring to the woman who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment days before his committee vote in 1991.
“This really isn’t surprising to me at all,” Feinstein later told The Daily Beast when asked about the state of play. “This is an incident which has changed a woman’s life. And it ought to be looked at seriously. It ought to be investigated. We’ve asked for that and obviously haven’t achieved it. But it’s going to be a ‘he says she says,’ it looks like.”
Ford has yet to confirm that she will attend the hearing, which is slated for Monday. Her lawyer, Debra Katz, has not responded to the committee’s outreach efforts, according to senators and aides, despite insisting in television interviews on Monday that her client was willing to testify. Cornyn said the committee has offered Ford the opportunity to testify in private if that is what she prefers.
Judge, who attended Georgetown Preparatory School with Kavanaugh, had denied the underlying allegation even before Ford went public on Sunday. “It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” he told The Weekly Standard last week. In the past, Judge has written about the “wonderful beauty of uncontrollable male passion.” In one of his books, he writes about his teenage days as an alcoholic and a heavy partier.
Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has re-emerged as a key swing vote in the Kavanaugh fight, sent a letter to Grassley and Feinstein asking them to allow the attorneys for Kavanaugh and Ford to cross-examine each witness during the hearing. It is unclear if the committee will approve her request, but Collins was pivotal on Monday in convincing Republican leaders to hold a hearing to address the matter, and they are likely to placate her once more in order to ensure that she does not jump ship.
“I believe that would elicit the most information,” Collins said.
Feinstein said she is not aware of any other women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.