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Classmate: Kavanaugh not honest about drinking

A Yale classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accused him on Sunday of being untruthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and making a "blatant mischaracterization" of his drinking while in college.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 5:10 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 5:40 AM

A Yale classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh accused him on Sunday of being untruthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee and making a "blatant mischaracterization" of his drinking while in college.

"I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth," Chad Ludington said in a statement to CNN.

Ludington said in the statement he often drank with Kavanaugh when they were classmates, and said Kavanaugh had played down "the degree and frequency" of his drinking in his testimony. Ludington said he often saw Kavanaugh "staggering from alcohol consumption," and said he often became "belligerent and aggressive" while drinking.

In his testimony to the judiciary committee Thursday, Kavanaugh denied ever blacking out from drinking.

Ludington said in his statement he witnessed Kavanaugh throw a beer in a man's face once for making a semi-hostile remark, "starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail."

"It is truth that is at stake," Ludington said in a statement. "and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation's most powerful judges."

Ludington is a professor at North Carolina State University, The New York Times reports, and he has appeared to have made small political contributions to Democratic candidates.

Ludington said in the statement he does not believe "heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18 or even 21 year old should condemn a person for the rest of his life," but said if Kavanaugh "lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences."

Ludington said he "cringed" when he watched the Fox News interview with Kavanaugh and his wife Monday and when Kavanaugh testified under oath on Thursday to the judiciary committee.

Ludington said he felt it was his civic duty to tell of his experience drinking with Kavanaugh, and said in his statement he is going to take his information to the FBI. He told the Times he would go to the FBI on Monday.

The FBI has reopened a background check on the Supreme Court nominee, but the probe is narrowly focused, top officials said in interviews on Sunday. Kavanaugh's drinking history, which has come up in the allegations, is not part of the probe, a source tells CNN.

Ludington is not the first of Kavanaugh's former classmates to come forward and tell the story of a young man who drank to excess in college. Liz Swisher, another classmate, told CNN that Kavanaugh was not truthful in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his drinking habits when he was at Yale.

"There's no problem with drinking beer in college. The problem is lying about it," Swisher said on "Cuomo Prime Time." "He drank heavily. He was a partier. He liked to do beer bongs. He played drinking games. He was a sloppy drunk. He was more interested in impressing the boys than he was in impressing the girls. I never saw him be sexually aggressive, but he definitely was sloppy drunk."

James Roche, Kavanaugh's freshman year roommate at Yale, also spoke out.

"Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year. We talked at night as freshman roommates do, and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends. It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk," Roche said in a statement.

The White House did not have any immediate reaction on behalf of itself or Kavanaugh, but directed CNN to comments made by Chris Dudley, a close friend of Kavanaugh's and a former NBA player.

Dudley recalled that Kavanaugh was never aggressive when he drank.

"He wasn't that type of person," Dudley said.

Dwayne Oxley, who lived on same floor as Kavanaugh in Ezra Stiles College, said he would typically not talk to reporters, but that he wanted to lend his voice in support of the nominee. While the two men, he said, haven't stayed in close touch, he said he knew Kavanaugh well in college. They were both part of the same secret society: Truth and Courage, but not at the same time.

Oxley said it was college and that people drank, but "I never saw him in a state where he wasn't in control."

He said he knew of Ramirez and when he saw the picture, he definitely recognized her. He said he was "sympathetic" to her and to Blasey Ford, but "it's just not who I knew as Brett Kavanaugh."

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