The Latest: Kavanaugh fending off 3rd accusation

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WASHINGTON – The Latest on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh is fending off a third accusation of sexual misconduct as he prepares for a public Senate hearing that could determine whether Republicans can salvage his nomination.

Julie Swetnick says in a sworn statement that she witnessed Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women in the early 1980s.”

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party when they attended Yale University, raised her profile in a round of television interviews.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from just two witnesses Thursday: Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a California psychology professor who accuses him of attempting to rape her when they were teens.

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6:20 p.m.

The lawyer for a third woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct says he won’t agree to a Senate Judiciary Committee request to interview her immediately.

Michael Avenatti tells The Associated Press that his client won’t consider the committee’s request until it agrees to his demand for an FBI investigation of the accusation. He says doing the interview today would be “ridiculous.”

Avenatti represents Julie Swetnick. She’s accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual misconduct in the early 1980s.

The lawyer says Swetnick wants to be treated like Kavanaugh’s initial accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Ford hasn’t been interviewed by committee staff. She and Kavanaugh are scheduled to testify publicly before the panel Thursday.

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6:10 p.m.

A former girlfriend of Mark Judge, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school friend, is willing to speak to the FBI and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Elizabeth Rasor has said Judge told her that he and other teens took turns having sex with a drunken woman when they were in high school.

Rasor’s attorney says in a letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press that her client would “welcome the opportunity to share this information.”

Rasor met Judge in college and was in a relationship with him for about three years. She told The New Yorker that Judge told her he was ashamed of the incident.

Rasor’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, says in the letter that her client’s account in the story was accurate.

Judge and Kavanaugh have denied any misconduct.

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5:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the numerous accusations of sexual assault that have been made against him over the years affect the way he views allegations against other men, including his Supreme Court pick.

Trump says at a New York news conference that he views such accusations “differently” because he’s “had a lot of false charges made against me.”

Here are his own words: “It’s happened to me many times.”

Trump says he’d been accused – falsely – by “four or five women” who “got paid a lot of money” to make those charges.

More than a dozen women came forward during the 2016 presidential campaign, claiming they were assaulted, groped or kissed without consent by Trump. There’s no evidence most were paid.

Also during the campaign, a videotape from 2005 was released on which Trump was heard boasting of grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission.

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5:45 p.m.

The Republican staff for the Senate Judiciary Committee is requesting an immediate interview with the third woman who’s accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

GOP committee aides have emailed a letter to the woman’s attorney, Michael Avenatti. They say they want to know immediately whether Julie Swetnick would agree to be interviewed by phone later Wednesday.

That would be just hours before the committee’s scheduled hearing Thursday where Kavanaugh and initial accuser Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford are set to testify.

She has claimed he sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the early 1980s.

Kavanaugh has denied allegations from three women of sexual misconduct.

The committee staffers write that this is the sixth email they’ve sent Avenatti since he tweeted Sunday that he had an unnamed client with accusations against Kavanaugh.

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5:35 p.m.

Christine Blasey (BLAH’-zee) Ford says in prepared testimony to a Senate committee that she believes Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party when they were teenagers.

Kavanaugh has said he never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any other time in his life, and he says he didn’t even attend the party where Ford says she was assaulted.

Ford says in testimony for Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that she was “terrified” to go public with her story. She says it’s her “civic duty” to tell the senators what happened.

Ford says she doesn’t have the answers to all the questions she know will be asked about that night and says she doesn’t remember everything. But she said the details have “haunted” her into adulthood.

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5:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s open to changing his mind on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – if the evidence at Thursday’s Senate committee hearing is compelling.

Trump says at a news conference in New York that he’ll watch the testimony from Kavanaugh and a woman who’s accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

The president was asked about whether he might be persuaded to withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination. Trump said: “If I thought he was guilty of something like this … yeah, sure.”

Trump is calling Kavanaugh was “one of the highest quality people” he’s ever met. The president insists the accusations are false and he’s accusing Democrats of playing politics.

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4:35 p.m.

Some of Brett Kavanaugh’s high school friends are pushing back against the latest accusation of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee.

The friends have written the Senate Judiciary Committee and said they’ve “never witnessed any behavior that even approaches what is described in this allegation.”

Julie Swetnick has provided a sworn declaration to the committee that says she witnessed Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women in the early 1980s.” Her lawyer posted the declaration on Twitter.

The 64 Kavanaugh friends from the all-male Georgetown Prep and some sister high schools who signed the letter say they don’t remember ever meeting Swetnick and they say “these shameful attacks must end.”

Kavanaugh has denied the new charges.

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4:30 p.m.

A Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee says he needs to hear Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before determining whether her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is credible.

When John Kennedy of Louisiana was asked what criteria he’ll use, he said: “That’s like asking me to explain the Holy Spirit.”

Kennedy says credibility can sometimes by judged by body language, by sincerity or by corroborating evidence.

He’ll be among the senators with a chance to question Ford on Thursday.

She’s scheduled to testify about her accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party decades ago.

Kavanaugh, who denies that accusation, is scheduled to testify after Ford is finished.

The 21 senators on the committee will each have five minutes to ask the witnesses questions.

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3:30 p.m.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee say they want to speak to the latest woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana says the committee will be extending an invitation to Julie Swetnick to provide a sworn statement, and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham says he wants the committee to talk to her “today.”

Swetnick – in a sworn statement Wednesday – is accusing Kavanaugh of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women, among other things. The Associated Press hasn’t been able to corroborate the claims and continues to investigate.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and calls them “ridiculous.” He says he didn’t know Swetnick.

The committee chairman, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, says in a tweet that committee investigators are tracking down all allegations against Kavanaugh, talking to witnesses and gathering evidence.

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3 p.m.

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford have provided the Senate Judiciary Committee with the results of a polygraph test on her accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teens.

The documents indicate the Ford took the test on Aug. 7 at a Hilton Hotel in Maryland.

Ford has told The Washington Post she hired a former FBI agent to conduct the test as she considered whether to come forward with her accusation, and she’s said she passed it.

The newly released documents seem to support her claim, but there’s no independent expert verification.

She says Kavanaugh held her down, tried to remove her clothes and covered her mouth at a drunken high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the allegation and says he’s never assaulted anyone.

In addition to the polygraph, Ford’s lawyers have given the Senate committee four affidavits from people who say Ford told them about the assault.

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2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says what’s happening to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is a “disgrace” that will be reflected in the November election.

Trump blames Senate Democrats and is suggesting that how they handled sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh will help Republicans at the polls. Kavanaugh denies the allegations.

Republicans are fighting to maintain their grip on both houses of Congress in the face of strong enthusiasm by Democratic voters who oppose Trump and his policies.

Here’s how Trump is assessing the Kavanaugh confirmation process: “It’s disgraceful. It’s a disgrace to the country. And I think you’re going to see it in the midterms.”

Trump also says “these Democratic senators” are a “disgrace.”

He adds that the “good news is the public is very smart and they get it.”

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2:20 p.m.

A high school friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is denying a woman’s allegation of sexual misconduct.

Mark Judge is the friend, and his lawyer, Biz Van Gelder, says her client vehemently denies the new allegations.

In a sworn statement, Julie Swetnick has accused Judge and Kavanaugh of excessive drinking and inappropriate treatment of women, among other things.

The Associated Press hasn’t been able to corroborate the claims, and continues to investigate.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and calls them “ridiculous.” He says he didn’t know Swetnick and “this never happened.”

Swetnick’s lawyer says he expects to release additional information in “the coming weeks.”

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