In what could be the first leak from the tightly guarded FBI report on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The Wall Street Journal reported early Friday that one of the FBI witnesses said she felt pressured by allies of accuser Christine Blasey Ford to revisit her initial statement on Ford's account of attempted rape at a party in high school. "People familiar with the matter" told the Journal that Leland Keyser, a friend of Ford's, informed FBI investigators that a mutual friend, Monica McLean, had urged her to clarify her statement.
On Sept. 23, Keyser's lawyers sent the Judiciary Committee a statement saying she didn't remember attending any party with Kavanaugh, though Keyser also told The Washington Post the same day that she believed Ford. On Sept. 29, two days after Kavanaugh told the committee that Keyser's statement "refuted" Ford's allegation, Keyser's lawyer sent the committee a statement saying that while she does not recall the alleged incident, "Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford's account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford's account."
This report suggests that friends of Ford, like Kavanaugh and his allies, were quietly lobbying old classmates to bolster their version of events. In supplemental materials delivered Thursday, the FBI gave senators text messages from McLean to Keyser, the Journal reports. McLean's lawyer said, "Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser's account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false."
A person close to Keyser and Ford told the Journal that she understood mutual friends had contacted Keyser to warn her that her statement was being used by Republicans against Ford, and that if that wasn't her intention, she should clarify the statement, but the friends hadn't "pressured" Keyser. There's no indication Ford or her lawyers were involved, the Journal says. Peter Weber