Editor’s note: Early Friday, shortly after Fox & Friends aired his conspiracy theory about Christine Blasey Ford’s attempted-rape allegations, Ed Whelan issued an apology on Twitter, posting: “I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake.”
A leading ally of Brett Kavanaugh has, based on a hunch, claimed a woman who accused the Supreme Court nominee of assaulting her in high school likely mixed up the federal appeals court judge with a classmate.
Then he posted photos of the classmate, his Facebook profile, and the location of his high school home.
In a Twitter thread on Thursday evening, Ed Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, engaged in some amateur sleuthing to suggest that Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party more than three decades ago, might be confusing him with another alum of Georgetown Prep, the prestigious D.C. high school that Kavanaugh attended.
Ford, for her part, quickly rejected the suggestion. “I knew them both, and socialized with” them, she told the Washington Post. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”
Whelan offered scant evidence for the charge beyond Kavanaugh’s ostensible resemblance to the classmate and a comparison of the floor plan of the house in which the classmate lived to Ford’s description of events at the party.
He went on to name the classmate and post screenshots of both the location of the house in question and of the Kavanaugh classmate’s Facebook profile picture, making it easy for readers to find the individual in question.
“It is regrettable that private citizens are being drawn into this,” Whelan wrote. “But that is the product of [Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Diane] Feinstein’s shockingly shoddy handling of the whole matter.”
Though he appeared to imply that Kavanaugh’s classmate was a more likely culprit, Whelan insisted that he was not accusing the individual of sexual assault, or even saying that the assault in fact took place.
“I have no idea what, if anything, did or did not happen in that bedroom at the top of the stairs, and I therefore do not state, imply or insinuate that [name deleted] or anyone else committed the sexual assault that Ford alleges,” he wrote.
The “doxing” of an individual based on such flimsy evidence is particularly noteworthy given Whelan’s stature as a mainstream and respected conservative legal scholar. In a Politico story published on Thursday, Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, where Whelan is a contributor, called him “the model of careful, discerning legal analysis and commentary. It's why all of us who know him take everything he says and writes so seriously.”
The individual whom Whelan named as Ford’s possible assailant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Whelan appeared to tease his “findings” on Wednesday, when he tweeted that information had come to his attention that would completely exonerate Kavanaugh. “Senator Feinstein will soon be apologizing to Judge Kavanaugh,” he wrote.
His tweets Thursday about Kavanaugh’s classmate came days before the judge and Ford are slated to testify about the allegations to members of the Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh officially informed Chairman Chuck Grassley on Thursday, in a letter released by the White House, that he would be appearing as planned on Monday, though it’s not clear whether the date of any testimony will occur later to accommodate Ford’s requests.
“Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it,” Kavanaugh wrote to Grassley. “I remain committed to defending my integrity.”