Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's second accuser is willing to testify, lawyer says

Key Points
  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, would be willing to testify publicly about his sexual misconduct in college, lawyer John Clune says.
  • "She wanted to make sure that her recollection of what happened and what information she was going to put forth in The New Yorker was accurate," Clune tells NBC's "TODAY."

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, would be willing to testify publicly about his sexual misconduct in college, Ramirez's lawyer John Clune said Wednesday.

"She wanted to make sure that her recollection of what happened and what information she was going to put forth in The New Yorker was accurate," Clune said in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" when asked about the six days his client took to assess her memories.

The New Yorker reported on Sunday that Ramirez said Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were at students at Yale University in the 1980s. The magazine said she claimed that "he exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away."

Kavanaugh vehemently denies all allegations of sexual misconduct.

The allegations by Ramirez, now an advocate for needy families and domestic violence survivors in Colorado, has thrust her to the center of the battle over the shape of the Supreme Court.

Friends said Ramirez rarely talked about her college days and lived a private life in the Rocky Mountains foothills, but colleagues said they sensed something in her past had drawn her to devote her life to supporting women in trouble.

"I definitely had known she went to Yale and I knew that it wasn't always an easy experience for her," Angela Hardin, who became close friends with Ramirez as they trained women's crisis volunteers a decade ago, told The Associated Press. "Debbie would talk about feeling various levels of discrimination."

Still, friends and colleagues said it came as a surprise when Ramirez decided to go public with allegations.

The New Yorker magazine has reported that when it first contacted her, Ramirez was "hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident." After six days of going over her memories and talking with an attorney, the magazine reported, Ramirez "said that she felt confident enough of her recollections" to name Kavanaugh as the student who had exposed himself to her at the party.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump showered Kavanaugh with praise before world leaders, and said Ramirez's allegations were part of a "con game" engineered by the Democratic Party.

"She says it may not be him and there are gaps. And she was totally inebriated and all messed up, and she doesn't know. It might have been him, or it might not have been him. Gee, let's not make him a Supreme Court judge," Trump said on the same day he addressed the U.N. General Assembly.

Kavanaugh is set to testify Thursday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing along with Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers during an early 1980s high school party.

Ramirez's attorney tweeted Tuesday that his client wants to give a sworn statement to the FBI.

"Ms. Ramirez is ready to swear to the FBI under penalty of perjury," Clune tweeted. "Why won't the Senate Judiciary Committee welcome that?"

Clune did not respond to a request from The Associated Press for an interview with Ramirez.

Hardin, who spoke with Ramirez on Sunday night, said her friend reluctantly decided to tell her story so that her own words would be shared, rather than having them filter out through others.

"The fact that she brought her story forward tells me that she had to have gone through a lot of introspection," said Lisa Calderon, Ramirez's former supervisor at a Boulder nonprofit that assists survivors of domestic violence.

Ramirez, who grew up in Connecticut, attended a co-ed Roman Catholic high school in Trumbull and graduated from nearby Yale in New Haven with a degree in sociology in 1987.

Classmates described Ramirez, 53, as friendly, well-liked and quiet. Some of her closest friends were athletes, and she made extra cash by working in the dining hall at her residential college, serving food and washing dishes, classmates said.

She spent her spring break in 1985 with a large group of students in the Bahamas, where they searched for the cheapest drinks, lounged on the beach and tried their luck at the casino, according to a Yale Daily News article from the time.

Ramirez also saw herself as an outsider as a woman of Puerto Rican descent who didn't come from the wealth and privilege of many of her classmates, said James Roche, a close friend who was also Kavanaugh's freshman-year roommate.

Roche said he didn't interact much with Kavanaugh. He said Kavanaugh was typically reserved but was a "notably heavy drinker" who "became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk."

"Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up," Roche said in a statement. "Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described."

Ramirez's sister, who was a year behind her at Yale, said in a Facebook message that she's proud of her sister.

"This is not easy for anyone, but Deb has been tremendously brave and her honesty is above reproach," Denise Ramirez said.

After moving to Boulder, Ramirez joined a local running club, where she met a group of friends who got together for weekly after-work runs and ski trips to Vail.

Ramirez started volunteering at the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence and soon was brought on staff by Calderon, who described her as a talented, humble employee who wanted to be among the people she served.

She now works as a senior volunteer coordinator in Boulder County's housing agency, but she has stayed connected to Safehouse as a member of its board.

Hardin said that when she reached Ramirez on Sunday to offer her support, Ramirez told her she felt a sense of freedom in having finally come forward with her memories of what happened decades ago in that college dorm.

"She had fears about coming forward because she had been under the influence at the time," Hardin said. "She said that as painful as it was, it also felt freeing to not hold onto this anymore and to be able to talk about it, not having shared any of this with more than a few people in her life until now."

— The Associated Press and CNBC's Jacob Parmuk contributed to this report.

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Key Points
  • Another woman accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct decades ago.
  • Kavanaugh denies the allegation, which stems from a dormitory party at Yale University in the 1980s.
  • Christine Blasey Ford, who separately accuses Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a high school party, is set to testify publicly on Thursday.