Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and members of his team worked behind the scenes to refute an allegation of sexual misconduct before it surfaced in The New Yorker last month, according to text messages obtained by NBC News.
The text messages were exchanged between two friends of the judge. They reveal that Kavanaugh had personally discussed an allegation from former Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez before it was made public. Ramirez claims Kavanaugh drunkenly exposed himself to her at a party decades ago. In one message, one of those friends says Kavanaugh asked her to publicly defend him.
The messages, which have not been independently viewed by CNBC, are striking because Kavanaugh has testified under oath that the first time he learned about the accusation was in "in the New Yorker story" that was published Sept. 23. The federal appeals court judge has also criticized Ramirez for "calling around to classmates trying to see if they remembered" the incident before she came forward with her accusation.
The messages were sent between Kerry Berchem, a lawyer and former Yale University classmate, and Karen Yarasavage. Berchem, a partner at the law firm Akin Gump, told NBC News that she had reached out to the FBI multiple times, on Sunday and Monday, but had not heard back.
Last Friday, President Donald Trump ordered the FBI to reopen its background investigation into Kavanaugh after key Republicans made that a contingency for moving the nomination to a full Senate vote. The president directed the agency to complete its investigation in a week.
"I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate," Berchem told NBC in a statement.
The FBI declined to comment Tuesday morning.