Sexual Assault: A SECOND woman has come forward to accuse Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct, throwing an already bitter confirmation fight into even more doubt.
In July, the United States President chose Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. But Mr. Kavanaugh still needs to be confirmed by a vote in the US Senate.
Last week he was rocked by a damaging allegation from university professor Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed Mr. Kavanaugh forced himself on her at a party when they were high school students.
Dr. Ford said a “stumbling drunk” Mr. Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, tried to remove her clothes and then covered her mouth when she tried to scream for help.
She didn’t tell anyone about the incident until a therapy session with her husband in 2012.
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes, to her or anyone,” Mr. Kavanaugh said in response.
Multiple classmates Ms. Ford identified as being present at the party have since said they have no recollection of it.
But today another woman, 53-year-old Deborah Ramirez, accused Mr. Kavanaugh of new claims reported by The New Yorker.
Ms. Ramirez said Mr. Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a college party at Yale University in the 1980s, thrust his genitals into her face and caused her to touch them without her consent as she pushed him away.
She called for the FBI to investigate the alleged incident.
Mr. Kavanaugh denied her story, calling it “a smear, plain and simple”.
“The people who knew me then know this did not happen, and have said so,” he said.
The New Yorker reports Republican staffers learned of Ms. Ramirez’s allegation last week. Soon afterward, Republicans in the Senate started to push for an accelerated vote on Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Democrats, meanwhile, are demanding a delay.
“I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh,” Senator Dianne Feinstein said.
“I also ask that the newest allegations of sexual misconduct be referred to the FBI for investigation and that you join our request for the White House to direct the FBI to investigate the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford as well as these new claims.”
Mr. Trump, for his part, is standing firmly behind Mr. Kavanaugh.
White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec dismissed Ms. Ramirez’s allegation as “the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man”.
The President sparked a backlash when he tweeted about Dr. Ford’s claims.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn to date, time and place!” Mr. Trump said.
His comments provoked a seething response from sexual violence campaigners, who pointed out that many sexual assault claims go unreported.
Dr. Ford has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Mr. Kavanaugh will appear before the committee to respond immediately afterward.
The New York Times reports he will present calendars from 1982 showing he was out of town when the party supposedly took place.
Republicans have scoffed at calls for the FBI to step in, questioning what it would actually investigate.
“I’m a big fan of the FBI, but they don’t investigate sex assault cases. There are very, very few federal sex assault cases,” Republican Senator Trey Gowdy told CBS.
“My first question would be, get the FBI to investigate what? There’s no crime scene to process, there’s no forensics to evaluate.
“I don’t know what people expect the FBI to do, they’re not human polygraphs. So they can’t tell us who is telling the truth.”
Mr. Kavanaugh could yet face more allegations of misconduct.
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in the legal furore surrounding her affair with Mr. Trump, chimed in today to suggest he represents another woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh”.
“We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee,” Mr. Avenatti said. “The nomination must be withdrawn.”