Senator Alerted F.B.I. to New Kavanaugh Allegation

WASHINGTON — As the F.B.I. began looking into allegations of sexual assault against then-Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last year, a Democratic senator wrote to the director of the F.B.I. saying he had “information relevant” to the inquiry, but the bureau apparently failed to follow up.

The letter, sent early last October by Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, to Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, has come to light after a book by two New York Times reporters surfaced a new allegation of sexual impropriety by Mr. Kavanaugh. The events have reopened the bitter partisan debate over the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, just as he is coming up on his first anniversary on the Supreme Court.

In the letter, Mr. Coons told Mr. Wray that several people had come to him with information about the future justice. In particular, he asked Mr. Wray for “appropriate follow-up” with a former Yale classmate of Justice Kavanaugh’s, who had information that might have buttressed a claim by another classmate, Deborah Ramirez, that Mr. Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken dormitory party in 1983, their freshman year.

In a copy of the letter obtained by The New York Times, the classmate’s name is redacted, but a spokesman for Mr. Coons, Sean Coit, confirmed that the classmate was Max Stier, who runs the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington nonprofit. Mr. Stier was first identified in a forthcoming book about the confirmation.

“I cannot speak to the relevance or veracity of the information that many of these individuals seek to provide, and I have encouraged them to use the F.B.I. tip portal or contact a regional F.B.I. field office,” Mr. Coons wrote, adding, “However, there is one individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow-up.”

The F.B.I. acknowledged receiving the letter from Mr. Coons, Mr. Coit said. The two top senators on the Judiciary Committee at the time — Chairman Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and the top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein of California — were copied on the letter.

A forthcoming book about Mr. Kavanaugh and his confirmation process by the two Times reporters says that Mr. Stier saw Mr. Kavanaugh expose himself to another female student at a different alcohol-soaked party, where friends pushed his penis into the woman’s hand. Mr. Stier reported the incident to the F.B.I. and to senators, according to an excerpt published in Sunday editions of The Times.

The authors reported that the female student declined to be interviewed, and that friends said she did not recall the episode. But the account echoes the one Ms. Ramirez described.

News of Mr. Stier’s story has prompted calls from some Democrats for a reopening of the Kavanaugh inquiry.

“There should certainly be a full, fair investigation, as was never done at the time,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. “It was a sham, as we said then, and there should be a full inquiry now.”

Source link