Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge: 'I will cooperate' with FBI probe of sex assault claims

  • A lawyer for Mark Judge, the high school buddy of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, told CNBC that Judge "will answer any and all questions posed to him" by the FBI about serious sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
  • The cooperation offer came on the heels of several senators asking for Kavanaugh's final confirmation vote to be delayed until after the FBI has a chance to investigate claims that he tried to rape a 15-year-old high school girl in the early 1980s.
  • " If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr. Judge's cooperation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him," Judge's lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, told CNBC in an email.
Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. 
Andrew Harnik | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. 

A lawyer for Mark Judge, the high school buddy of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, told CNBC that Judge "will answer any and all questions posed to him" by the FBI about serious sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.

The cooperation offer came after several senators asked for Kavanaugh's final confirmation vote to be delayed until the FBI has a chance to investigate claims that he tried to rape a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 at a gathering in the early 1980s while Judge was present.

President Donald Trump within hours of that said, "I've ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh's file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week."

Before Trump's order, Judge's lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, told CNBC in an email, "If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr. Judge's cooperation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him."

Kavanaugh, in a statement released from the White House, said, "Throughout this process, I've been interviewed by the FBI, I've done a number of 'background' calls directly with the Senate, and yesterday, I answered questions under oath about every topic the Senators and their counsel asked me. I've done everything they have requested and will continue to cooperate."

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee for days have blasted the Republican majority for not issuing a subpoena to Judge to testify at that committee this past Thursday.

At that explosive hearing, Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist, testified that Kavanaugh had attacked her during a gathering in a private home with several high school students about 36 years ago.

Kavanaugh vehemently denied her allegations, and accused Democrats of engaging in a conspiracy to thwart his elevation to the high court.

Judge was the only other person who Ford has said was in the room during the alleged attack, which would have occurred when he and Kavanaugh were students at Georgetown Prep, an all-boys Jesuit high school in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.

But Ford alleged that other people were present at the party itself. Later on Friday, a lawyer for Patrick J. Smyth, another of Kavanaugh's classmates alleged to have been at the gathering, said his client "is happy to cooperate fully with this FBI investigation."

Ford testified that both Judge and Kavanaugh were extremely drunk and laughing as Kavanaugh grinded his body against hers on a bed, and tried to take off her clothes.

She testified that the attack only ended after Judge jumped on the bed, sending them tumbling off of it.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee repeatedly called for an FBI investigation that would question Judge and other people who Ford has said were at the house that day.

But Kavanaugh refused under questioning by Democrats to call for an FBI probe.

And until Friday, Republicans on the committee had likewise refused to request that the bureau reopen its background investigation of Kavanaugh.

Judge, who has admitted to abusing alcohol in high school, has said he has no memory of the incident described by Ford.

Author Mark G. Judge featured on Encounter Books webpage
Source: www.encounterbooks.com
Author Mark G. Judge featured on Encounter Books webpage

And, "I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes," Judge said in a letter to the Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

He also told the committee that "I do not want to comment about these events publicly."

"As a recovering alcoholic and a cancer survivor, I have struggled with depression and anxiety," his letter said.

"As a result, I avoid public speaking."

On Friday, Judge sent the Judiciary Committee a letter strongly denying claims by another accuser, Julie Swetnick.

Swetnick has said that during house parties in the early 1980s, she saw Judge and Kavanaugh spike punch with grain alcohol or drugs to lower the inhibitions of girls so they then could be gang raped.

Swetnick had also said she saw Judge and Kavanaugh waiting in lines of boys to take their "turn" with girls who had become "inebriated and disoriented" at such parties.

Judge denied knowing Swetnick, which he noted was submitted "under penalty of felony."

He also said, "I will cooperate with any law enforcement agency that is assigned to confidentially investigate these allegations."

Van Gelder sent a copy of that letter to CNBC after the Judiciary Committee voted to advance Kavanaugh's nomination, and after committee member Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for the FBI to investigate Ford's claims.

Asked if Judge is also willing to cooperate with law enforcement officials to investigate Ford's allegations, in addition to those made by Swetnick, Van Gelder said he was.

"Mr. Judge did not intend his comment to be limited in scope. If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr. Judge's cooperation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him," Van Gelder said in an email.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, whose position on Kavanaugh's nomination is not known, said she was pleased to hear of Judge's promised cooperation.

Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate, which means that if all senators who caucus with Democrats vote against Kavanaugh, along with at least two GOP senators, his nomination would fail.

Swetnick's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, when asked about Judge's letter regarding Swetnick, said, "He is lying."

"We want a full and complete investigation with the results and details shared with the public," Avenatti told CNBC.

Earlier Friday, Avenatti had tweeted that he was asking the Judiciary Committee, once again, for a response to his offer to have Swetnick testify before the committee under oath.

Avenatti also reiterated that Swetnick is willing to talk to the FBI about Kavanaugh.

Avenatti had released Swetnick's sworn affidavit about her claims Wednesday.

CNBC has requested comment from the offices of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, as well of other committee members, the ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, Flake and Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina.

Graham's office declined to comment. The other offices did not immediately respond.

Correction: This story was revised to correct that Sen. Susan Collins said she was pleased to hear of Mark Judge's promised cooperation.