The FBI has contacted Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault, as it begins a fresh inquiry into him.
Deborah Ramirez accuses Judge Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a drinking game when they were students at Yale University in the 1980s.
Brett Kavanaugh has denied the allegation, describing it as a smear.
President Donald Trump ordered a new investigation after Brett Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Prof. Christine Blasey Ford, testified to a Senate panel on September 27.
The panel approved Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination but asked for the further inquiry before the full Senate votes on his appointment to the Supreme Court.
Despite ordering the FBI investigation, President Trump has continued to defend Brett Kavanaugh, who denies all the allegations against him.
On September 29, President Trump said the FBI had “free rein” to investigate the judge.
He said: “They’re going to do whatever they have to do, whatever it is they do. They’ll be doing things that we have never even thought of. And hopefully at the conclusion everything will be fine.”
The Supreme Court has the final say on some of the most contentious matters in the US and appointments are for life. Brett Kavanaugh is expected to tilt the court in favor of conservatives.
Deborah Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, announced that the FBI had “reached out” to interview his client and she had agreed to co-operate with their investigation. He made no further comment.
She alleges the incident occurred during the 1983-1984 academic year when they were both taking part in a drinking game at a dormitory party.
In an interview with the New Yorker, Deborah Ramirez acknowledges gaps in her memory caused by alcohol that night, which is said to have made her hesitant to come forward when contacted.
Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate committee that Brett Kavanaugh had assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
Judge Kavanaugh angrily denied that he had ever assaulted her or anyone else.
Mark Judge, a high school friend of Brett Kavanaugh who Christine Blasey Ford says was in the room at the time of the assault, has said he will co-operate with any law enforcement agency that will “confidentially investigate” the allegations.
He has already denied Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.
Two others who were allegedly present in the house during the alleged assault, PJ Smyth and Dr. Ford’s friend Leland Ingham Keyser, are willing to co-operate “fully” with the FBI’s investigation, their lawyers said.
A third woman who has also publicly accused Brett Kavanaugh, Julie Swetnick, alleges he was involved in the drugging and assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s.
Hulie Swetnick says she was the victim of a gang rape in 1982 at a party attended by Brett Kavanaugh.
Her lawyer said on Septemeber 29 that they had yet to hear from the FBI.
Announcing the FBI investigation, President Trump said: “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file.
“As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”
The inquiry involves the FBI reopening its previously completed background check on Brett Kavanaugh. This may mean going back to old witnesses – or speaking to new ones.
Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer said her client welcomed the step but questioned the time limit of a week to hold the investigation.