Brett Kavanaugh sexual misconduct allegations: What to know

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that could jeopardize his chances of securing confirmation from a Senate that is narrowly controlled by Republicans, especially with congressional elections only weeks away.

Both Kavanaugh, 53, and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday. Since the announcement of the hearing, two more woman have come forward with claims of misconduct, and on Wednesday, a fourth allegation was made in an anonymous complaint.

Kavanaugh, meanwhile, has maintained his innocence and has kept the support of President Donald Trump. Scroll down to learn more about the accusers, Trump’s unwavering support and more.

The allegations

After her confidential letter accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault was made public earlier this month, Blasey Ford decided to come forward.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Blasey Ford said that in 1982, as a high school student in Maryland, Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

She described Kavanaugh as a “stumbling drunk,” who pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to remove her clothing. At the time of the alleged incident, she was 15 years old, while he was 17.

Now a 51-year-old research psychologist and psychology professor, Ford told The Washington Post she sent a letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) about the incident in July, but requested confidentiality at the time.

Just hours after she agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, a second woman stepped forward accusing Kavanaugh of a similar act.

The woman, identified as Deborah Ramirez, described another instance of alleged sexual misconduct, which was published in The New Yorker on Sunday.

Ramirez told The New Yorker Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken dormitory party during the 1983-84 academic year while attending Yale University. However, the magazine has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was at the party where the alleged incident took place.

The allegations were referred to the FBI for investigation.

A day before the Republican-led panel is set to hold a high-stakes hearing in which Kavanaugh and Ford will testify, a third woman came forward, accusing him of sexual misconduct.

The woman, Julie Swetnick, stated she attended more than 10 parties in the Washington area from 1981 to 1983, where Kavanaugh was present, according to The Guardian. She described gang rapes that she said occurred in which boys would line up to rape incapacitated girls.

“In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanugh were present,” said Swetnick, who mentioned one of Kavanaugh’s closest friends.

“During the incident, I was incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me. I believe I was drugged using Quaaludes (a sedative) or soemthing similar placed in what I was drinking.”

Swetnick did not accuse Kavanaugh of taking part in the incident, but stated he was present.

She also said she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and others to “cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or a bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys,” adding she recalls Kavanaugh taking part in these rapes.

The fourth accusation came in the form of an anonymous letter sent to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). It said Kavanaugh physically assaulted a woman he socialized with in the Washington area in 1998 while he was inebriated, according to NBC News.

Kavanaugh calls allegations a ‘smear campaign’

Kavanaugh has denied all accusations brought against him, portraying the claims as part of a “smear campaign” by Democrats who have fought his nomination from the start.

“These are smears, pure and simple,” Kavanaugh stated in a letter on Monday.

He called Blasey Ford’s allegation “completely false” and, in a statement provided by the White House on Sunday night, said the incident described by Ramirez “did not happen.”

“The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last minute character assassination will not succeed,” Kavanaugh said in the statement. “I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name — and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building — against these last-minute allegations.”

Kavanaugh opened up in an interview alongside his wife on Fox News, that he admits he drank and did some things that he looks back on and says are embarassing and makes him cringe, but kept his innocence.

“I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about,” said Kavanaugh. “We’re talking about an allegation of sexual assault. I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone. I’m a good person.”

Kavanaugh also stated he’s not questioning that Ford, at one point in her life, was sexually assaulted by someone at some place, and asks for a fair process, where he could defend his intefrity and know he’s telling the truth.

“I know my lifelong record and I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process,” said Kavanaugh. “I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people.”

Kavanaugh quickly denied Swetnick’s allegations in a statement released by the White House.

“This is ridiculous and from the ‘Twilight Zone.’ I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”

He denied the most recent allegation during a call with Senate Judiciary Committee staff, NBC News reported.

Trump stands by Kavanaugh

Trump, who faced more than a dozen sexual misconduct accusations during the 2016 presidential race, has voiced support for his Supreme Court nominee.

After arriving in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly on Sunday, Trump called the allegations politically motivated.

“Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding person. I am with him all the way,” Trump said. “For people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago, and 30 years ago and never mention it — all of a sudden it happens. In my opinion, it’s totally political.”

Trump also took to Twitter, writing on behalf of Kavanaugh.

“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay,” he said.

After Kavanaugh’s televised interview, Trump stated he knew Kavanaugh was truthful.

“He’s a high-quality person, he’s a great intellectual,” said Trump, as he called the allegations a “con game being played by the Democrats.”

Trump has also spoken out against Ford, stating the allegation was 36 years old “and nobody ever heard about it,” and said Ramirez “had nothing.

“Now a new charge come up. She says, ‘Well it might not be him.’ And there were gaps. And she said she was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up, and doesn’t know if it was him, but it might have been him,” said Trump against Ramirez’s allegations.

Latest on Senate confirmation hearing

The Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings with Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Once Ramirez went public with her allegations, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s top Democrat, asked the panel’s Republican chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), for an “immediate postponement of any further proceedings” on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The Judiciary Committee hired a female prosecutor to question Ford on behalf of the 11 Republicans on the panel, all of whom are men.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that the full Senate would vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination regardless of what happened at the hearing with Blasey Ford. He also stated he’s confident Kavanaugh will be confimed to the lifetime position.

The Senate Judiciary Committee must approve Kavanaugh’s nomination before a vote by the full Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 majority.

However, confirmation prosepects may hinge on the votes of a handful of moderate Republican senators, who have not announced their intentions.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters it’s no longer, “is Judge Kavanaugh qualified,” but rather whether or not these women have been subject to any form of assault, violence, or intimidation.

If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be the second judge appointed to the Supreme Court by Trump, solidifying conservative control of the country’s highest court.

With Reuters