Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s friend does not deny assault claim, lawyer says

An attorney for Leland Keyser stated plainly in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that his client, a friend of Christine Blasey Ford, does not “refute” Blasey’s sexual assault claim against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,” the attorney, Howard Walsh, wrote in the letter sent late Friday. 

Kavanaugh and Republicans have repeatedly attempted to use a prior statement from Keyser in their defense against Blasey’s allegation. Blasey, now a psychology professor, told the Senate committee this week she is “100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who pinned her to a bed at a high school party in what she believed was an attempt to rape her. 

Although Keyser believes her friend, Walsh said “the simple and unchangeable truth” is that his client is “unable to corroborate” Blasey’s account because she does not remember it. 

RELATED: Dr. Ford testifies in front of the Senate panel on allegations against Kavanaugh

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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee
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Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Christine Blasey Ford attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for her to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Christine Blasey Ford, testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Rachel Mitchell ask questions to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo By Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. In prepared remarks, Ford said, �t is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.� (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Christine Blasey Ford, testifies before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Senator Benjamin E. Sasse (R-NE) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) talks as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo By Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in by chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on September 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo by Tom Williams / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOM WILLIAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in by chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on September 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Photo by Tom Williams / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOM WILLIAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
Rachel Mitchell, a prosecutor from Arizona, waits for Christine Blasey Ford, to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS
Senate Republicans attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Mike Lee (R-UT) before the start of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Melina Mara/Pool via REUTERS
Senate Republicans attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Senators Dianne Feinstein, left, and Richard Durbin attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Senators Richard Durbin and Kamala Harris attend a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell listens during opening statements before Christine Blasey Ford testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris talk at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Christine Blasey Ford to testify about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Erin Schaff/Pool via REUTERS
Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), committee chairman before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. Melina Mara/Pool via REUTERS
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The letter clarifies an initial statement from Keyser that did not comment on the veracity of Blasey’s story. 

“Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford,” her attorney initially said.

Keyser also told The Washington Post separately that she believed her friend. But that didn’t stop her original comment from being distorted by Republican senators and their Supreme Court nominee. 

Kavanaugh said three times in an angry opening statement that Keyser had “refuted” Blasey’s claim. 

“Ms. Keyser said under penalty of felony she does not know me, does not recall ever being at a party with me ever, and my two male friends who were allegedly there, who knew me well, have told this committee under penalty of felony that they do not recall any such party and that I never did or would do anything like this,” he said. 

Later, Kavanaugh urged the committee to “listen to Ms. Keyser.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also used Keyser’s statement to support Kavanaugh. 

Blasey acknowledged her friend’s statement during her Thursday testimony before the committee, saying she did not expect Keyser or anyone else allegedly present to recall the event. 

“Nothing remarkable happened to them. They were downstairs,” Blasey said, adding that she did not tell Keyser about the assault at the time. 

Keyser wishes “to cooperate fully” with the supplemental FBI investigation into Kavanaugh the committee agreed upon at the eleventh hour, and which President Donald Trump formally requested on Friday.

Mark Judge, the only other witness to the alleged assault, according to Blasey, has also signaled a willingness to cooperate. 

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