The sexual assault accusation from Christine Blasey Ford that has upended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing isn’t just about Kavanaugh. It also mentions a friend of Kavanaugh’s whom Ford says was in the room when the assault took place: Mark Judge.
And his name keeps popping up, including in new allegations from Julie Swetnick, who is Michael Avenatti’s client and a Washington, DC, resident who says she witnessed Kavanaugh and Judge sexually harass and assault women in high school.
Ford, the first woman to come forward with allegations against Kavanaugh, describes Judge watching Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of her, occasionally egging him on, and jumping on the bed several times — a move that eventually allowed her to escape.
“Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack,” Ford said during her testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They both seemed to be having a good time. Mark was urging Brett on, although at times he told Brett to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.”
Swetnick says that Judge and Kavanaugh were present at a party where she was “gang raped” in the 1980s and that they and others targeted women with drugs and alcohol so they would “lose their inhibitions.” She also describes Kavanaugh drinking excessively and sexually and verbally harassing women.
Kavanaugh has vehemently denied all of the allegations as “completely false” and said the allegations from Swetnick are “from the Twilight Zone.” Judge has also denied them. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Judge said he has “no memory” of the alleged incident with Ford and did not see Kavanaugh act the way Ford has described. He also said he had no more information to offer and therefore did not wish to speak publicly to the committee about it, and he is reportedly now holed up in a beach house in Delaware.
Here’s what you need to know about Mark Judge and his role in the Kavanaugh allegations.
Who is Mark Judge?
Judge was a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland in the early 1980s and is now a conservative writer who has written for publications such as the Daily Caller and the American Spectator.
He’s floated some controversial ideas in his writings — including asking in 2006 whether gay people are perverts and longing for the days when President George W. Bush could give his wife, Laura, a “loving but firm pat on the backside in public” as a show that he “knew who was boss.” He’s also the author of several books, including one recounting his teenage years of alcoholism and addiction.
He is now at the center of the brewing storm over Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while at a party during the early 1980s, when they were both in high school. The accusations could derail the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination, which Democrats have asked to be delayed, even as many Republicans and the White House seem determined to forge ahead.
Despite his desire to be kept out of the matter, Judge’s name keeps appearing. On Sunday, before Swetnick’s allegations came out, the New Yorker published a story on a second woman who accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Deborah Ramirez, which contained a tidbit from a former girlfriend of Judge’s, Elizabeth Rasor.
Rasor claims Judge once “told her ashamedly of an incident that involved him and other boys taking turns having sex with a drunk woman,” but that he deemed it consensual. A lawyer for Judge said he “categorically denies” that.
Swetnick’s claims also name Judge and are similar to what Rasor described in the New Yorker.
Ford alleges that Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her — and that he played along
Ford alleges that sometime during the early 1980s, she was at a party when Kavanaugh and Judge, both drunk, corralled her into a bedroom. Ford says that while Judge watched, Kavanaugh “pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding her body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it,” according to an account written by Emma Brown at the Washington Post, who interviewed Ford.
When she tried to scream, Ford alleges that Kavanaugh put her hand over her mouth, and she was able to escape when Judge jumped on top of them and knocked them all down.
In the letter Ford sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in July outlining the incident, Judge’s name apparently appears, but in the public version of the letter, it’s redacted:
Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.
From across the room a very drunken REDACTED said mixed words to Kavanaugh ranging from “go for it” to “stop.”
At one point when REDACTED jumped onto the bed the weight on me was substantial. The pile toppled, and the two scrapped with each other. After a few attempts to get away, I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom.
Ford also wrote that she never saw Kavanaugh after the assault but did see Judge, who seemed “extremely uncomfortable” upon their meeting.
Ford elaborated on this encounter during her Thursday testimony, saying she ran into Judge at Potomac Village Safeway about six to eight weeks after the alleged incident with Kavanaugh. Ford testified that it “looked like he was working there” and was arranging shopping carts. “I said, ‘hello’ to him,” Ford told the Committee:
And his face was white, and very uncomfortable saying hello back. And we had previously been friendly at the times that we saw each other over the previous two years, albeit not very many times, we were always friendly with one another. I wouldn’t characterize him as not friendly, he was just nervous and not really wanting to speak with me. And he looked a little bit ill.
The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who interviewed Deborah Ramirez about her allegations against Kavanaugh, noted that Judge mentions in his 1997 memoir, Wasted: Takes of a Gen X Drunk, that he worked at a local supermarket.
Judge told the Weekly Standard that he first learned he was named in Ford’s letter when Ronan Farrow from the New Yorker, who alongside Jane Mayer detailed the allegations against Kavanaugh without naming Ford in a report last week, told him. Judge has backed up Kavanaugh’s emphatic denial of the accusations.
“It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge said.
The Weekly Standard asked Judge if he saw Kavanaugh engaged in any sort of “rough-housing” with a female student in high school, which he also denied. “I can’t. I can recall a lot of rough-housing with guys. It was an all-boys school, we would rough-house with each other,” he said. “I don’t remember any of that stuff going on with girls.”
Judge in his letter to the Judiciary Committee obtained by the Post said he “did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved.” He reiterated that he had no memory of the incident and said he did not want to testify publicly before the committee.
NEWS — Mark Judge in letter obtained by WaPo says “I have no memory of this alleged incident” and defends Kavanaugh pic.twitter.com/fsW0sY20YE— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 18, 2018
The Post located Judge this week staying at a friend’s beach house in Bethany Beach, Delaware. The publication reported that a car in the driveway “contained piles of clothing, a collection of Superman comics, and a package addressed to Judge at the Potomac home where he lived three years ago.”
An attorney for Judge told the Post she told him to leave the DC area last week because he was being “hounded” by the media and critics. “He needed for his own health to get out of this toxic environment and take care of himself,” the attorney, Barbara “Biz” VanGelder, said.
Judge has written about his drunken high school days — and apparently referenced Kavanaugh — in the past
As Mother Jones reported, Judge’s 2005 book, God and Man at Georgetown Prep, “apparently paints the school as overrun with gay priests who promote a form of liberalism that wrecks Catholic education.” (The book is now out of print). And both that title and Judge’s 1997 memoir detail rampant alcohol abuse at the school, including his own.
In the book, according to Mother Jones’s Stephanie Mencimer, Judge writes that he reached a point where once he had one beer, “I found it impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated.” He writes that the school made students do community service on Sundays in an effort to try to keep them from drinking too much the night before.
Judge refers to Georgetown Prep as “Loyola Prep” and, according to Mother Jones, also changes the names of the people in the book — but he wasn’t too sneaky about it, apparently, because there’s a “Bart O’Kavanaugh” in the book who seems quite likely to be Brett Kavanaugh:
So Bart O'Kavanaugh's witness is a sketchy perv who confirms they were drunken losers in high school pic.twitter.com/s1GVaJK6xW— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) September 15, 2018
This paints a rather different picture than the one Kavanaugh did when his nomination was announced. “The motto of my Jesuit high school was, ‘Men for others,’” Kavanaugh said when speaking from the East Room of the White House. “I have tried to live that creed.”
Judge has written in the past about rape, feminism, and body language
While Judge has currently entered the limelight because of his ties to Kavanaugh, he’s been a part of conservative media circles for quite some time. He’s written for the Daily Caller and the American Spectator and has floated a number of controversial assertions and ideas, including when it comes to women. Since coming under scrutiny in light of Ford’s allegations, Judge has deleted much of his social media presence.
“You’re thinking it even if you don’t say it: Are gay people perverts?” he wrote in a 2006 piece titled “Gay Sex” on the website PoliticalMavens.com. In 2012 for the Daily Caller, he wrote that the “odds were very high” that a black person has stolen his bike. Other writings attributed to Judge on the Daily Caller include “The angry ladies of Jezebel,” “Miley Cyrus and American malaise,” and “Sex and Duck Dynasty: the liberal double standard.”
Feminist author Jessica Valenti pointed out on Twitter that in 2013 for the Daily Caller, Judge wrote that President George W. Bush’s interactions with his wife, first lady Laura Bush, showed “the man knew who was boss.” She also highlighted another instance where Judge’s writings suggested women are “sending out signals” with how they dress and act.
Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's high school friend who was in the room when Christine Ford says she was assaulted has some pretty telling views on masculinity https://t.co/gqjWCwdCC3 pic.twitter.com/vyMAOXnOrt— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 17, 2018
“Of course there is never any excuse to rape someone,” Judge wrote in a post called “Feminism and Body Language: A Double Standard.” “But it’s possible to have two seemingly contradictory thoughts to be both equally true.”
There’s never any excuse to rape, a crime that I think is almost akin to murder because the rapist kills a part of the human soul. And yet what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality. If a woman at her computer in Starbucks is, as Jarune Uwajaren argues, sending out several signals simply by the way she is sitting, then women who dress like prostitutes are also sending out signals. The signal is not that they should be raped. But if a posture while drinking coffee is indicative of the soul and personality within, than so is marching down the street in your underwear. The former says that you are not interested in conversation or love. The latter says you can’t articulate an argument without using your body for cheap theatrics.
He also publicly wondered where all the “manly” journalists have gone.
“Just got a bit of a jolt from a high school buddy who just called me,” he wrote on Facebook when he shared the post. “This is (mostly) fiction, bro. Nothing to worry about.”