Gut check

The new claim of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh at Yale many decades ago comes from a book by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. Pogrebin and Kelly also wrote the New York Times story presenting this claim.

In their book, Pogrebin and Kelly acknowledge that the alleged victim of the alleged misconduct has no recollection of it. In their original Times article, the two omitted this fact.

In their book, Pogrebin and Kelly focus on the allegation that started the Kavanaugh controversy — Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that he sexually assaulted her during a high school party. According to Mollie Hemingway, who obtained an advance copy of the book, Pogrebin and Kelly offer no evidence in support of the sexual assault allegation, but say their “gut reaction” was that the allegation “rang true.”

I’m not sure why should anyone credit the gut reaction of two New York Times reporters out to make a name for themselves, and to promote a key Democratic talking point, at Brett Kavanaugh’s expense.

If we’re going to adjudge allegations of ancient misconduct based on someone’s gut, I’m more inclined to go with the gut of Leland Keyser, a lifelong friend of Christine Blasey Ford. Blasey Ford claims that Keyser was with her at the party where Kavanaugh allegedly committed sexual assault. Keyser told Pogrebin and Kelly that she does not believe Blasey Ford’s claim against Kavanaugh:

We spoke multiple times to Keyser, who also said that she didn’t recall that get-together or any others like it. In fact, she challenged Ford’s accuracy. “I don’t have any confidence in the story.”

I find it interesting that Pogrebin and Kelly spoke to Keyser “multiple times.” Apparently, they found it difficult to take “no” for an answer.

Pogrebin and Kelly weren’t the only ones who found this difficult. According to Hemingway:

The authors also acknowledge what had previously been reported in “Justice on Trial” [by Hemingway and Carrie Severino] about the efforts of mutual friends to get her to change her testimony to be more supportive of Blasey Ford. The reporters say that some of Blasey Ford’s friends “had grown frustrated with Keyser. Her comments about the alleged Kavanaugh incident had been too limited, some of them felt, and did not help their friend’s case. Surely, given what a close friend Keyser had been, she could say more to substantiate Ford’s testimony and general veracity, even if she could not corroborate Ford’s more specific memories.”

A group text was formed in which friends such as Cheryl Amitay and Lulu Gonella discussed how to get her to say something more helpful to the cause. An unnamed man on the text suggested that they defame her as an addict. Keyser has been in recovery for some time, as her friends know and as has previously been reported.

Amitay answered, “Leland is a major stumbling block.” While asserting she didn’t want her to make anything up out of whole cloth, she offered ideas for things that could sound supportive of Ford’s story, such as that she’d been in similar situations with Blasey Ford that summer.

“I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply,” Keyser told the reporters, a stunning admission of the pressure to which she was subjected to by Blasey Ford’s allies.

(Emphasis added)

Unfortunately, because the left never gives up on a smear, Keyser can look forward to a lifetime of this treatment. More than 25 years after the Clarence Thomas hearings, the odious Jill Abramson came to the home of Nancy Montwieler (a journalist with whom I once worked) trying to get her to say that Thomas sexually harassed her during the 1980s. (Nancy declined to answer Abramson’s questions but apparently later denied being the subject of any misconduct by Thomas).

As for Keyser, despite the threats and repeated interviews with Pogrebin and Kelly, she still finds Blasey Ford’s story unworthy of belief. Says Hemingway, Keyser has both “logistical and character-driven” problems with it.

Keyser, by the way, was opposed to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. This, of course, makes her unwillingness to support Blasey Ford’s smear all the more credible.

I’m going with Leland Keyser’s “gut” on this one.

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