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Mark Judge looms over Brett Kavanaugh hearing

September 28, 2018

Mark Judge wasn’t at Thursday’s hearing but the high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was nonetheless a dominant presence as Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser tried to parse events that may or may not have happened 36 years ago.

The committee learned of Mr. Judge’s struggles with alcohol and his later writings that appear to have been based at least in part on crazy high school hijinks from the time in question.

What senators did not hear, however, was Mr. Judge himself, who through a lawyer told the committee he had no clue what Christine Blasey Ford was talking about when she claimed he witnessed, and even played a role in, her sexual assault at a high school party.

Ms. Blasey Ford says he was drunk and may have helped push her into the room where she says Judge Kavanaugh groped her. She says Mr. Judge at one point jumped in a pile on his friend and Ms. Blasey Ford, giving her the opportunity to flee.

She testified Thursday she remembered Mr. Judge’s laughter during and after the attack.

And she said she ran into Mr. Ford six or eight weeks later when she and her mother went to the grocery store where he happened to work. She said he looked “ill” to see her.

“I said hello to him. His face was white,” Ms. Blasey Ford told lawmakers. “He was just nervous and not wanting to speak to me.”

She told lawmakers if the FBI investigated her claim, she could find out when Mr. Judge worked at the supermarket and it would help her memory so she could put a more specific date on the attack.

Those are also the kinds of details Democrats said make Ms. Blasey Ford’s allegation believable and that Mr. Judge should be made to answer for.

In lieu of appearing, Mr. Judge submitted a statement through his lawyer on Sept. 18 saying he didn’t know anything.

“I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved. The only reason I am involved is because Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remembers me as the other person in the room during the alleged assault.”

He added: “In fact, I have no memory of this alleged incident. Brett Kavanaugh and I were friends in high school but I do not recall the party described in Dr. Ford’s letter. More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the matter Dr. Ford describes.”

In a statement after the hearing Mr. Judge’s lawyer said he didn’t recall the events Ms. Blasey Ford testified to.

She said, though, that he has offered to answer written questions and is “willing to participate in a confidential, fact-finding investigation.” He still will not appear in public, nor will he respond to press inquiries, she said.

The Washington Post reported that Mr. Judge is holed up at a Delaware beach where he’s trying to avoid the spotlight. His lawyer said it was for his health.

Democrats said that wasn’t good enough.

“Mark Judge should be subpoenaed from his Bethany Beach hideaway but he’s not,” said Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat.

Democrats said another option would be to have the FBI open an investigation, which would include talking to Mr. Judge.

“Would you like Mark Judge to be interviewed,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, asked Ms. Blasey Ford.

“That would be my preference,” she responded.

“The chairman refuses to call him,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said. “If she is saying Mark Judge was in the room, then he should be in the room today.”

Judge Kavanaugh, for his part, wouldn’t say if he thought Mr. Judge should be called to testify, but did remind the Democrats -- repeatedly -- that Mr. Judge had already provided his sworn statement, which concurred with two other people Ms. Blasey Ford identified as having been present at the party.

Judge Kavanaugh also faced questions about a book Mr. Judge wrote about Bart O’Kavanaugh, who Democrats have alleged is an alter-ego of Judge Kavanaugh when he drinks and becomes belligerent, suggesting he may not have self control when under the influence.

Judge Kavanaugh said that book was a type of therapy for Mr. Judge, and that he used names similar to old friends.

“Mark Judge was a friend of ours in high school who developed a very serious drinking problem an addiction problem that lasted decades,” Judge Kavanaugh responded. “He nearly died.”

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