Committee contacts Ford's friend about party; 'she has no recollection' of it, lawyer says

GOP staffers work to interview possible witnesses

By ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER
Researchgate.net and AFP/Getty Images via CNN

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the Senate Judiciary Committee staff negotiates with attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a past sexual assault, over a potential hearing on Thursday, Republican staffers are working to interview those who may have information about the alleged incident.

CNN has learned that the committee has reached out to a longtime friend of Ford named Leland Ingham Keyser.

"I understand that you have been identified as an individual who was in attendance at a party that occurred circa 1982 described in a recent Washington Post article," a committee staffer wrote Keyser earlier this week.

On Saturday night, her lawyer, Howard Walsh, released a statement to CNN and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Simply put," Walsh said, "Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford."

The lawyer acknowledged to CNN that Keyser is a lifelong friend of Ford's.

Ford's lawyer Debra Katz said in response to Keyser's attorney's statement that it makes sense that Keyser wouldn't remember, because Ford has said she did not share her allegations "publicly or with anyone for years."

"It's not surprising that Ms Keyser has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it," Katz said in a statement. "It's also unremarkable that Ms. Keyser does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there."

Keyser is the latest person alleged to be at the party to say she has no recollection of it.

White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said of those who allegedly attended the party, "One week ago, Dr. Christine Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others. Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party."

The Washington Post reported late Saturday that it had talked to Keyser, who told the paper she believed Ford's allegation.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations, telling sources he was "flabbergasted" when he learned of them.

"This is a completely and totally false allegation," he said after Ford came forward. "I have never done anything like what the accuser describes --- to her or to anyone."

In addition, two others have issued statements.

"I have no memory of this alleged incident," said Mark Judge in a September 18 letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said he did not recall the party and never saw Brett Kavanaugh act in the matter Ford describes.

In addition, Patrick J. Smyth issued a statement. "I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as 'PJ' who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post," Smyth said in his statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh."

"Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women. To safeguard my own privacy and anonymity, I respectfully request that the Committee accept this statement in response to any inquiry the Committee may have."

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