Lawyer For Deborah Ramirez On Kavanaugh Allegations

Sep 26, 2018
Originally published on September 26, 2018 10:29 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

President Trump will hold a rare press conference later today where he will inevitably face questions about his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Republicans are trying to salvage his nomination to the high court amid allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Tomorrow, Kavanaugh and one of the women accusing him will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has been in touch with the committee in an effort to cooperate with their investigation. But it's not clear at this point whether she will testify under oath. Yesterday at the U.N. in New York, President Trump told reporters he doesn't think Ramirez is credible.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: She said, well, it might not be him. And there were gaps. And she said she was totally inebriated. And she was all messed up. And she doesn't know if it was him, but it might have been him. Oh gee, let's not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that?

MARTIN: John Clune is Deborah Ramirez's attorney, and he joins us this morning.

Thanks so much for being with us.

JOHN CLUNE: You're welcome. Good morning.

MARTIN: First, may I just ask your response to President Trump's comments about your client?

CLUNE: Well, you know, as somebody who works in sexual violence, it's pretty disturbing to hear the commander in chief pretty much mocking a person who has reported being a victim of sexual assault. But more than that, he's making his conclusions based on information that, you know, he apparently has read in the media. And this is exactly why that he needs the order an investigation into what happened, both for Debbie Ramirez's case and also in the case of Dr. Ford.

MARTIN: Well, what has been misconstrued? I mean, many people have seen this New Yorker article in which Ramirez described this incident happening at a party where everyone was drinking, herself included. She acknowledges gaps in her memory. The article says she took six days of assessing her own memories before coming forward to The New Yorker with Brett Kavanaugh's name. She even called around to other people who she believed to have been at that party to see if what she was remembering was right. How can your client now say she is certain of what she describes?

CLUNE: Well, I mean, I'm glad you bring that up because the very purpose of taking that extended period of time to work through what she recalled from 35 years ago was designed only to make sure that the information that she was going to provide was something that she was very confident in was accurate. So she did work with an attorney, and they talked about what they recall, what they don't recall to be able to suss out what information should not be a part of this New Yorker article. And there is other information that was left out of that article that she didn't provide because she didn't feel confident in that. The information that she did put in that article were the items that she was very, very confident in.

MARTIN: Can you say anything more about that other information - other allegations, other things that she thought Brett Kavanaugh may have done?

CLUNE: Yeah. No. I mean, this is why I find Debbie Ramirez so credible. She does not want to put out that additional information because she has said to herself, if I'm not certain that those things happened, I'm not going to put them forth in the public.

MARTIN: Why didn't she bring this up earlier? I mean, Republican critics will say, if this was such an impactful event, if this did indeed happen, why didn't Debbie Ramirez bring this up when Brett Kavanaugh was under oath during the question-and-answer portion of his confirmation hearing?

CLUNE: Well, I think you have to keep in mind the nature in which this information came forward in the first place. She was not intending to bring this information up at all. I mean, this has been something that was a very hurtful and a very disturbing part of her past. And she has generally not sought to bring it up, even though Brett Kavanaugh has moved through the judiciary in the fashion that he has.

MARTIN: So why did she?

CLUNE: But she's - so she's sitting in her office, and she gets a voicemail from The New Yorker. And she calls them back, and she gives them an honest interview. She wasn't looking to stir it up, you know, last week any more than she was two months ago.

MARTIN: Brett Kavanaugh calls your client's allegation part of a larger smear campaign. This is what he said during his interview on Fox Monday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BRETT KAVANAUGH: I never did any such thing. Never did any such thing. The other people alleged to be there don't recall any such thing. If such a thing had happened, it would've been the talk of campus.

MARTIN: Does he have a point, that everyone on campus would have known if this really happened?

CLUNE: People on campus did know about it, and they were talking about it. And that's in The New Yorker article. But if he's so adamant that he didn't do this, and if the president's so adamant that this is a smear campaign, why would they not welcome an FBI investigation where these witnesses that have come forward to support Brett Kavanaugh - and some of those have dropped from his support, but the ones that still remain - why won't they order an investigation so that they're actually questioned under the threat of perjury? Debbie Ramirez is willing to do that, why isn't Brett Kavanaugh?

MARTIN: What about Kavanaugh's claim that this is part of a smear campaign? This is something conservatives, many of whom are not fans of President Trump, are arguing as well that this is part of a political hit job on Kavanaugh on the part of Democrats. Can you say unequivocally that your client has no political motivations in bringing this allegation?

CLUNE: I can. And it goes back to what we talked about. I mean, she's in her office just doing her job, living her life and she gets a call and she answers the questions truthfully. That's all that happened from her end of this.

MARTIN: Would she be willing to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee?

CLUNE: If they had a meaningful process and they had a legitimate process. I don't know what they're doing on Thursday. But if they investigated this case and gave her the opportunity to testify, she would do it. But...

MARTIN: Has she...

CLUNE: ...So far, they have not invited her to do that.

MARTIN: They have not. Does that mean that she would insist on an FBI investigation before testifying?

CLUNE: Not necessarily. But the problem is we can't even talk with the Judiciary Committee. We had a phone call scheduled in last night that the majority party blew off. So unless we can have a meaningful conversation with them and they're actually going extend the offer for her to testify, then it's really a moot point.

MARTIN: John Clune is an attorney out of Boulder, Colo. He's representing Deborah Ramirez who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Mr. Clune, thanks so much for your time.

CLUNE: You bet. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.