An attorney representing a second woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says Republicans on the decisive Senate Judiciary Committee have thwarted her efforts to testify before it holds a vote on his nomination, now scheduled for Friday.
The committee's Republican majority "refused" to have a phone conversation about whether the woman, Deborah Ramirez, would testify, and it has demanded she hand over all information relating to her allegation before even negotiating an appearance, her lawyer, John Clune, said Tuesday on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."
"Here’s the problem, Rachel: They won’t talk to us," Clune said. "The demand that they keep making to us is, ‘Give us every piece of information that you have now and then we can talk about scheduling a phone call.' And that’s just not the kind of partisan gameplaying that our client deserves."
Ramirez emerged as a second Kavanaugh accuser Sunday after The New Yorker published an article in which she claimed Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a gathering when both attended Yale in the 1983-84 school year.
Attorney Michael Avenatti said Monday that he would reveal a third accuser sometime Wednesday. Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, told The New Yorker in a story published Sept. 14 that the federal judge attacked her, getting on top of her and putting his hand over her mouth, at a party in high school.
Ford and Kavanaugh were scheduled to testify Thursday about the allegation before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations. "The truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise," Kavanaugh said on Fox News Monday night.
Clune denied that Ramirez was part of a last-ditch, partisan effort to foil Kavanaugh, saying that she was contacted by New Yorker reporter Ronan Farrow and then by other reporters who had heard rumors of her story. It was only then that she decided, with some hesitation, to go public, he said.
"She had not talked about this matter for many years prior to this, and she had a hard time deciding whether or not to call Mr. Farrow back," Clune said.
He said his client wants the FBI to investigate her claims before she testifies. But Republican leaders on the Judiciary Committeehave said further FBI inquiry into Kavanaugh's background is not necessary.
"There are plenty more people that need to be contacted that if there is going to be a real investigation," Clune said, " ... but at this point it doesn’t look like there is at least much of a momentum for that to take place."
Asked if Ramirez would testify under the conditions imposed on Ford — strict time limits, Kavanaugh getting the last word, being questioned by a sex crimes prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona, identified Thursday as Rachel Mitchell, a registered Republican — Clune said it was unlikely.
"You know I’d let her make that decision, but I wouldn’t advise it," he said. "That’s a very unfair process."