Text messages suggest Kavanaugh didn’t tell the truth about 1997 photo with accuser

Kavanaugh said he “doesn’t have a specific recollection." Text messages indicate his team had a photograph.

CREDIT: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images
CREDIT: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

A new report from NBC indicates Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh may not have told Republican Judiciary Committee staffers the truth on September 25 when he said he “doesn’t have a specific recollection” of attending a wedding in 1997 with Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who has accused him of sexual assault.

Text messages exchanged between two friends of Kavanaugh’s that were reviewed by NBC indicate “Brett’s team” was actually in possession of a photo of Kavanaugh and Ramirez taken at the wedding no later than September 22 — three days before the judge sat down to talk with Judiciary Committee staffers.

Here’s an excerpt from NBC’s report about the timeline surrounding the texts, which were exchanged by Kerry Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both of whom are identified in the story as “friends of Kavanaugh”:

Berchem’s texts with Yarasavage shed light on Kavanaugh’s personal contact with friends, including that he obtained a copy of a photograph of a small group of friends from Yale at a 1997 wedding in order to show himself smiling alongside Ramirez 10 years after they graduated. Both were in the wedding party: Kavanaugh was a groomsman and Ramirez a bridesmaid at the wedding.

On Sept, 22nd, Yarasavage texted Berchem that she had shared the photo with “Brett’s team.”

But when Kavanaugh was asked about the wedding during a committee interview on Sept. 25th, he said he was “probably” at a wedding with Ramirez. Asked if he interacted with her at the wedding, Kavanaugh replied, “I am sure I saw her because it wasn’t a huge wedding,” but added that he “doesn’t have a specific recollection.” Lying to Congress is a felony whether testimony is taken under oath or not.

While Kavanaugh and Ramirez were photographed together in a picture of the wedding party, Berchem said in a text to Yarasavage that Ramirez “clung to me” at the wedding because she wanted to avoid Kavanaugh, who she says sexually assaulted her at a party during the 1983-84 school year.


NBC’s reporting also casts doubt upon the claim Kavanaugh made during his sworn testimony that he didn’t know about Ramirez’s allegation until the New Yorker published a story about it on September 23.

NBC’s report was published the same evening as a New York Times story that reported on Kavanaugh’s involvement in a September 1985 altercation at a bar near Yale “during which he was accused of throwing ice on another patron” — the latest revelation among many that call into question the veracity of his testimony that he “did not drink beer to the point of blacking out.”

As ThinkProgress detailed on Monday, during last week’s testimony about Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in college, the judge appeared to lie about numerous things. Kavanaugh did not tell the truth about his connections to Yale University, the statements that acquaintances have made regarding their recollections of the night the alleged assault occurred, his social circle in high school, and his drinking habits.

While the FBI has agreed to investigate the allegations against Kavanaugh before a floor vote on his nomination, NBC reports that Berchem’s efforts to convey information about the text messages to the bureau haven’t been successful.