Multiple women have now accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, detailing accounts of nonconsensual encounters with the Supreme Court nominee tracing back to high school and college parties.
Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, was the first to level allegations against Kavanaugh, sending a complaint to Senator Dianne Feinstein earlier this month that later became public following a New Yorker investigation.
The New Yorker published a subsequent story on Sunday with new allegations against Kavanaugh from a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who claims the nominee exposed his penis to her at a Yale University dorm party. Within the hour, Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti announced he was representing a client who could testify to Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge's predatory behavior in high school, and, on Monday morning, news broke that another potential alleged victim had made a report to a local police department about Kavanaugh.
The allegations against Kavanaugh have become numerous, with developments arriving at breakneck speeds.
Here's everything we know so far.
How many women have accused Kavanaugh?
Two women have gone on the record to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Christine Blasey Ford first came forward with her allegations in a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Feinstein quietly forwarded to the FBI for investigation. After the specifics of her allegations were detailed in The New Yorker, Ford identified herself as Kavanaugh's accuser.
Deborah Ramirez is Kavanaugh's second accuser. She went public with her accusations against Kavanaugh in a New Yorker story that ran Sunday night. Almost immediately afterward, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' attorney, tweeted that he was representing a client who had "credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge," Kavanaugh's high school friend, though he did not say whether his client has accusations of their own to level against the Supreme Court nominee.
On Monday, news broke that an anonymous witness went to the Montgomery County, Maryland, police with additional allegations against Kavanaugh. Montgomery County prosecuting attorney John McCarthy says local authorities are "prepared to investigate" the allegations if the alleged incident occurred within the county, and if the alleged victim makes a report to county authorities.
What is Kavanaugh accused of?
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of holding her down and attempting to force himself on her at a high school party in the 1980s, when Kavanaugh was 17. She says Kavanaugh conspired with a classmate, Mark Judge, to turn the music up to drown out the sound of Ford's protests. Ford says she wriggled free, and later sought therapy for what for her was a traumatic and violating encounter.
Ramirez, who at first was hesitant to come forward with her account, says Kavanaugh once exposed his penis to her at a Yale University dorm party, when they were both freshmen. She told the New Yorker that it occurred at a point during the party when she was drunk and in a fog. When Kavanaugh allegedly bared his penis right in front of her face, other party-goers encouraged her to "kiss it." “Brett was laughing,” Ramirez remembers. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.”
Kavanaugh has denied both Ford's and Ramirez's allegations in separate statements.
Avenatti's client has not yet come forward, but according to an email Avenatti sent to the chief counsel for nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Avenatti says they are prepared to testify to Kavanaugh and Judge "targeting ... women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them.”
It has not yet been reported what the anonymous witness who spoke to Montgomery County authorities is alleging.
Who is Mark Judge?
Judge is Kavanaugh's friend from Georgetown Preparatory School who Ford has identified as the sole witness to her alleged assault. Judge, who later became known as a conservative writer, said he doesn't recall any such incident.
In his initial statement, Judge insisted that "no horseplay" had taken place at Georgetown Prep during his and Kavanaugh's time there. “I can recall a lot of rough-housing with guys,” he'd told the Weekly Standard earlier this month, in the immediate aftermath of Ford's allegations. “I don’t remember any of that stuff going on with girls.”
But it's since been revealed that Judge wrote extensively about his high school experiences, which he says were characterized by heavy “drinking and smoking and hooking up.”
In Sunday night's New Yorker story, detailing Ramirez's allegations against Kavanaugh, Judge's ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Rasor recalled Judge once telling her "ashamedly" about a time when he and other boys took turns having sex with a drunk woman.
Many have called for the Senate Judiciary Committee to subpoena Judge, forcing him to testify under oath. Last week, Judge refused to appear of his own volition in a statement from his lawyer: “I did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved,” Judge said. “The only reason I am involved is because Dr. Christine Blasey Ford remembers me as the other person in the room during the alleged assault.”
Will Kavanaugh's accusers testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing?
Ford and her legal counsel went to considerable lengths to negotiate if and when Ford would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Sunday, they came to an agreement: Ford would appear in committee on Thursday. Kavanaugh will also appear at the hearing, to deliver a testimony he feels certain will speak to his "reputation for character and integrity." The Supreme Court nominee is reportedly prepared to defend himself with calendars he kept in 1982.
There's no word yet on whether Ramirez will appear, or if there will be any other corroborating witnesses present.
How will Republicans proceed?
When they only had Ford's allegations to consider, it appeared Senate Republicans would push forward with Kavanaugh's confirmation and move to a vote as soon as possible. Now, with more accusations hanging over their nominee's head—and potentially more to come—there's increased speculation about whether Republicans will stick by Kavanaugh, or force him to withdraw.
If Republicans pull Kavanaugh, they risk disappointing their base and depressing turnout at the polls in November, when GOP candidates are already expected to suffer substantial losses to Democrats. If they keep Kavanaugh, they still risk electoral losses by isolating women voters who may be more sympathetic to the women accusing him.
With such a slim lead in the Senate—51-49—and some Republican senators reneging on their loyalty to Kavanaugh in the wake of the allegations against him, Kavanaugh seems to be losing the critical votes he needs to get confirmed to the bench either way.
Some Republican senators see the choice ahead of them as a lose-lose situation. Withdraw Kavanaugh, the conservative judge they need to skew the makeup of the court in their favor? Or lose seats in the midterm elections?
“They care a lot about this nominee," a Republican senator told Politico on Monday. "But they care far more about being the majority. If I were [Kavanaugh] I would be more concerned with that than the three or four independent-minded senators … his greatest threat is McConnell and Senate leadership if they think this is going against them in the midterms.”