A second woman who came forward last month to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct has released a scathing statement on Saturday ahead of his confirmation vote.
Deborah Ramirez, who has accused Kavanaugh of thrusting his penis in her face at a party when they were both students at Yale, said watching senators back the embattled judge made her feel like she was back at university.
Her comments come just hours before Kavanaugh is expected to be confirmed as a US Supreme Court Judge – a position normally kept for life.
“Thirty-five years ago, the other students in the room chose to laugh and look the other way as sexual violence was perpetrated on me by Brett Kavanaugh,” Ramirez said in a public statement.
“As I watch many of the Senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate I feel like I’m right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way,” she continued. “Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is US Senators who are deliberately ignoring his behaviour.”
Kavanaugh’s upcoming confirmation, expected to be announced on Saturday evening, follows weeks of the Trump nominee defending himself against allegations of sexual assault and misconduct from a number of women.
The first to come forward was Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers.
A time-limited FBI investigation was launched into the allegations, the findings of which were handed over to senators on October 4.
Neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were interviewed as part of the probe, although certain witnesses to the alleged incident were.
Kavanaugh’s passage to the Supreme Court was pretty much cleared for victory after key senators – Republicans Susan Collins and Jeff Flake and Democrat Joe Manchin – announced on Friday that they would support him.
Their backing gave him the 51 votes necessary for confirmation, with the Senate expected to vote to confirm him on Saturday afternoon.
Republican senator Lisa Murkowski will be the only member of her party to oppose the nominee.
In her statement, Ramirez went on to thank the witnesses who were not questioned by the FBI as part of its investigation into the accusations against Kavanaugh.
She criticised the FBI for not speaking to all of the people who she says could corroborate her story.
“There may be people with power who are looking the other way, but there are millions more who are standing together, speaking up about personal experiences of sexual violence and taking action to support survivors,” Ramirez said. “This is truly a collective moment of survivors and allies standing together.”
Ramirez’s full statement can be read here.
Representatives for Ford argued that Republicans were trying to undermine her credibility just hours before Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Ford maintains that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982 and told her story before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.
In response to the accusation, Kavanaugh delivered angry and emotional prepared remarks, accusing Democrats of concocting a political “hit job.” He received a slew of criticism for his tone, including retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who labeled Kavanaugh unfit for the nation’s highest court.
We believe Christine Blasey Ford and we fully support her
Ford’s lawyers said in a statement to HuffPost: “As the Senate debates the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, numerous false claims have been repeated to undermine the credibility of Dr Christine Blasey Ford.
“Whatever the outcome, Senators deserve to know the truth:
An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word.”
“We believe Christine Blasey Ford and we fully support her,” they concluded.
“Senators claiming to want a dignified debate should not repeat lies constructed by the Judiciary Committee that were cynically designed to win support for Judge Kavanaugh.”
The statement was signed by attorneys Debra S. Katz, Lisa J. Banks and Michael R. Bromwich.
The office of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley went on the offensive by releasing statements this week intended to discredit Ford.
Kavanaugh addressed his critics directly and published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday explaining his behaviour. He did not apologise.
Protesters have been staking out senators’ offices all week, leading chants, holding signs and sharing stories ― or attempting to ― of their own sexual assaults with elected representatives.