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The Washington Post Learned of New Claim Against Kavanaugh Last Year, Decided Not to Publish a Story


One detail The New York Times initially omitted from an article revealing a new sexual misconduct claim against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of the reasons The Washington Post decided not the publish a story a year ago, according to The Post itself.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that it heard last year about another claim that was referred to lawmakers and the FBI by “two intermediaries.” The Post also said that it didn’t publish a story about this because the intermediaries “declined to identify the alleged witness and because the woman who was said to be involved declined to comment”:

The Washington Post last year confirmed that two intermediaries had relayed such a claim to lawmakers and the FBI. The Post did not publish a story in part because the intermediaries declined to identify the alleged witness and because the woman who was said to be involved declined to comment.

As the FBI was wrapping up its investigation, the intermediaries working on behalf of [Max] Stier delivered his account to agency officials. The intermediaries told The Post last year they had relayed that a classmate of Kavanaugh had witnessed the incident while taking a study break at Yale’s Lawrance Hall. They declined to give The Post the classmate’s name.

In case you missed it, The Times, in an editors’ note on Sunday, mentioned that its initial story — an adaptation of the forthcoming book, The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation — made no mention that the alleged victim of the new sexual misconduct claim declined to be interviewed and that her friends said she did not recall the incident.

Now the Washington Post is saying that it did not publish a story last year, in part, because the alleged victim declined to comment. Also of note was that the “intermediaries” didn’t want to identify the witness.

The Times article on Saturday sent the news cycle into overdrive, as the newly uncovered allegation against Kavanaugh sounded very similar to the one made by Deborah Ramirez in 2018. The Times recounted the story of Yale classmate Max Stier, claiming that Kavanaugh was witnessed “with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.”

According to the Times, Stier, who runs a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., “notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly.”

[Image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.