Kavanaugh Backer Says Sexual Assault Allegation Could Have Been Just “Rough Horseplay”

Christine Blasey Ford has said the assault “derailed [her] substantially for four or five years.”

Following the publication of a detailed account of an alleged sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh, conservatives this week are rushing to defend the Supreme Court nominee’s record, with many openly questioning the credibility of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and whether she may be “mixed up” about the alleged assault. 

In that incident, which Ford calls an attempted rape, she alleges that a heavily inebriated Kavanaugh forced her onto a bed, groped her, and tried to disrobe her while covering her mouth to prevent her from screaming during a high-school party in the 1980s. She told the Washington Post the alleged assault “derailed [her] substantially for four or five years” and had a “lasting impact” on her life.

Now Carrie Severino, a lawyer for the Judicial Crisis Network, a top activist group behind Kavanaugh, suggests that despite any permanent damage Ford says she suffered, Ford may have incorrectly registered the alleged incident. According to Severino, what actually happened may have simply been “rough horseplay” between two teenagers.

“Well look, her allegations cover up a whole range of conduct, from boorishness to rough horseplay to actual attempted rape,” Severino said during a Tuesday appearance on CNN. “And obviously, if you go to rape, yes that is a really serious allegation. But this is why it’ll be useful to have this hearing so we can even figure out some of what the specifics on those allegations are.”

“I don’t think anywhere in there she’s saying that this is boorish horseplay at all in her letter,” CNN anchor Kate Bolduan interrupted. 

“She’s certainly implying that it’s attempted rape,” Severino replied. “But I think you have to look at 35 years of memory that we’re trying to play with here, and I’m saying that the behavior she describes could describe a whole range of things. I know her perception of it was one.”

In an abrupt turn, she then appeared to remember that Kavanaugh has denied that he was even at the party in question. The appearance comes one day after the Judicial Crisis Network launched a $1.5 million to salvage Kavanaugh’s nomination.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate