HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The new debate over a decades-old sexual misconduct allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh echoes the allegations that derailed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in 2017.
For Kavanaugh, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings were long, but he appeared to survive them with his nomination prospects intact.
At a similar point, Moore had won a primary and runoff in his bid to win the special election for an Alabama U.S. Senate seat.
Then the Washington Post put out a story with explosive sexual misconduct allegations against Moore, with interviews with Moore’s accusers over alleged events nearly 40 years ago.
Now, the Washington Post is reporting Kavanaugh’s accuser’s claim of an alleged encounter with a drunken Kavanaugh – who was about 17, the girl was about two years younger -- where he allegedly jumped on her in a locked bedroom, groped her and covered her mouth to prevent screaming, from more than 30 years ago.
Both men have denied the allegations. Moore was sued for defamation by one of the alleged victims, Leigh Corfman, following the election.
A Judiciary Committee hearing is set for Monday, where both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, a California-based psychology professor, have been asked to testify.
U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who beat Moore in the special election in December, said Sunday the case against Kavanaugh should be examined. Jones told CNN Tuesday that he believes the Senate Judiciary Committee should subpoena Mark Jones, Kavanaugh’s friend and the only witness to the alleged encounter.
The Judicial Crisis Network spent more than $1 million on ads aimed at lobbying Senators like Jones for Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A spokeswoman for the group was asked today on CNN – if the allegation is true, does it disqualify Kavanaugh?
“Her allegations cover a whole range of conduct, from boorishness to rough horseplay, to actual attempted rape,” Carrie Severino, spokeswoman for the Judicial Crisis Network told CNN. “And so, obviously if you go to rape, yes, that is a really serious allegation, that’s why it’ll be useful to have that hearing.”
After the allegations, Moore denied the claims while on the campaign trail.
The current plan is for Kavanaugh and his accuser to testify under oath.
Moore spoke up for Kavanaugh today, saying both he and Kavanaugh had been carefully investigated and vetted. He provided the following statement to WHNT News 19:
"Brett Kavanaugh, like me, has withstood numerous investigations and vetting by the most rigorous legal and political authorities. The timing of these accusations in the midst of the U. S. Senate’s confirmation for a seat on the U. S. Supreme Court, like those allegations against me only 32 days before the final election for the United States Senate last year, is indeed suspect and show the depths to which liberals will stoop to stop opposition to their agenda."
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, who has supported the Kavanaugh nomination, addressed the issue through a spokeswoman today:
“Senator Shelby believes that these are serious accusations. Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee are working to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented, and respectful manner. Senator Shelby trusts that Chairman Grassley is working diligently to get to the bottom of these claims – particularly after being deprived of this information for many weeks.”
Gov. Kay Ivey, who has also offered support for the Kavanaugh nomination, was asked about it during a campaign stop Tuesday. She offered the following answer, according to her office:
“I am hopeful the U.S. Senate will move forward with the confirmation process, consider all information involved and make the right choice."