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Sep 14 2018

Kavanaugh’s #MeToo Moment

With all the news about Hurricane Florence and Trunp’s campaign manager flipping and taking a plea deal (I’ll get to that), this report about Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy has been flying under the radar. It appears the Senate Republicans may be on the verge of appointing a sexual predator. The Senator Dianne Feinstin (D-CA) received a letter from a woman who claimed that Judge Brett Kavanaugh and another person sexually threatened her when they were seventeen and in high school. She has given the letter to the FBI, the agency repsonsible for background checks on nominees.

News of the letter came as Judge Kavanaugh faced fresh scrutiny about his relationship with another judge, who was forced to resign from the bench last year.

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the supreme court,” Feinstein said in a statement.

“That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities,” she said.

A source who said they were briefed on the contents of the letter said it described an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman that took place when both were 17 years old and at a party. According to the source, Kavanaugh and a male friend had locked her in a room against her will, making her feel threatened, but she was able to get out of the room. [..]

While additional details about the letter were scarce, two media outlets have reported that the person who wrote the letter is being represented by an attorney, Debra Katz, who has been described in media reports as Washington’s #MeToo lawyer. [..]

As theories swirled in Washington about the contents of the Feinstein letter, Kavanaugh was facing fresh scrutiny about his relationship with Alex Kozinski, a powerful federal judge who was forced to resign from the bench after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment and assault.

Kavanaugh worked as a law clerk for Kozinski in 1991 and maintained a relationship with the one-time chief judge of the US ninth circuit for years.

He testified under oath at Senate confirmation hearings last week that he was “shocked and disappointed” to learn about allegations of sexual misconduct against his former boss and friend. Kavanaugh said the news was like a “gut punch”.

But Kozinski’s alleged victims have said that his allegedly abusive behaviour, which included inappropriate touching and showing clerks pornography that he kept on his computer, was openly known in legal circles. [..]

Among the allegations against the former judge are complaints that Kozinski circulated raunchy and offensive emails with clerks, friends and associates, in what was known as the Easy Rider Gag List. When news of the existence of the email distribution list first broke in the Los Angeles Times in 2008, it emerged that the inappropriate emails were sent periodically to friends, associates, law clerks and fellow judges on the federal bench, as well as attorneys and journalists. [..]

Kavanaugh has said under oath that he could not recall whether he ever received any sexually inappropriate emails from Kozinski. He has not responded to several requests from senators that he refresh his memory and check his previous emails to see if he was on the gag list.

MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell reveals to Rachel Maddow that he got advance information about a letter pertaining to Brett Kavanaugh that was given to Sen. Feinstein and referred to the FBI, pointing out that the letter writer’s desire to remain anonymous limited the subsequent steps that could be taken.

Republicans are determined to ram Kavanaugh’s confirmation through the Senate before the new Court session which begins the first Monday in October. The Senate judiciary committee announced on Thursday that it would hold a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on 20 September.