September 29, 2018 / 8:22 PM / 24 days ago

FBI contact second accuser of court nominee Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - FBI agents investigating U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have contacted the second woman to accuse him of sexual misconduct, her attorney said on Saturday.

The announcement by Deborah Ramirez’s lawyer John Clune indicates that the FBI probe of Kavanaugh will look beyond separate allegations of attempted rape leveled against the conservative federal appeals court judge by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a dramatic Senate hearing this week.

Ramirez alleges that Kavanaugh exposed his penis to her during a drunken party at a Yale University dormitory when they were undergraduates. Kavanaugh denies both Ford’s and Ramirez’s allegations.

“We can confirm the FBI has reached out to interview Ms. Ramirez and she has agreed to cooperate with their investigation,” Clune said in a tweet.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

“Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time.”

U.S. President Donald Trump bowed to pressure from moderate Senate Republicans and ordered the FBI investigation after Thursday’s Senate hearing, during which Ford, a California university professor, detailed her claims that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party in 1982 when the two were still high school teenagers.

On Saturday, NBC News reported that the White House had constrained the FBI investigation by limiting its parameters. Trump denied that story, tweeting that “Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah said the Senate had set the “scope and duration” of the FBI probe, which is supposed to be wrapped up in a week. “The White House is letting the FBI agents do what they are trained to do,” Shah said.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick, said in an email to Reuters that his client has not been contacted by investigators.

If confirmed to a lifetime Supreme Court appointment, Kavanaugh would consolidate conservative control of the nation’s highest court and advance Trump’s effort to shift the American judiciary to the right.

Reporting by David Morgan, Makini Brice and Roberta Rampton; Editing by John Walcott and Marguerita Choy

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