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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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