Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has categorically denied knowing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford or going to the party where she says he tried to rape her in the 1980s. The categorical denial certainly clarifies the situation but it is not a response that most seasoned lawyers would advice. Ford cannot remember much about the location or the time of the party, but Kavanaugh is saying with certainty that he did not go to the party. Moreover, the denial puts Kavanaugh one polaroid away from disaster. One picture of the two teens at a football game or party would be enough for a coup d’grace on his confirmation.
Kavanaugh’s team is putting forward dozens of women to vouch for him. Those testimonials are unlikely to make much of a difference. It comes down to corroboration or contradiction. Kavanaugh has set out a bright line denial — making this a fact dispute.
As I have said in commentary, there is a possibility that someone can have a false association with a traumatic event. I have handled a significant number of polygraph disputes where results have been rejected as unreliable. Ford could have had this traumatic experience but wrongly associated Kavanaugh with the attacker. In such a case, she could pass a polygraph. The key will be any contemporary witnesses like any friends with whom Ford confided after the alleged attack.
Monday’s hearing will indicate if any such corroboration or contradiction has been found. Indeed, it would be better for both sides to avoid leaking any damaging information until the hearing to push Ford or Kavanaugh.