The two New York Times reporters behind the story detailing a new sexual misconduct allegation against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh blamed the editing process for the omission of a key passage that was later added along with an editor’s note.
In an interview Monday evening, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly said this missing detail, which undercut the claim that Kavanaugh made inappropriate sexual contact with a female student at Yale University in the mid-1980s, was in the original draft of the piece.
“I think what happened actually was that we had her name and the Times doesn’t usually include the name of the victim. And so I think in this case the editors felt like maybe it was probably better to remove it. And in removing her name, they removed the other reference to the fact that she didn’t remember it,” Pogrebin told MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell.
The Times exposé, published Saturday afternoon and adapted from Pogrebin and Kelly’s upcoming book The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, due out Tuesday, centered around Deborah Ramirez, who alleged Kavanaugh thrust his penis into her face at a Yale dormitory party in the 1980s.
It contained a new allegation that came from a male classmate, Max Stier, who told the FBI and at least one Democratic senator that he saw Kavanaugh “with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” The FBI reportedly did not investigate the claim.
President Trump defended Kavanaugh in a salvo of tweets and urged him to “start suing.” But more than 24 hours after the piece was published, the Times revised the article, along with an editor’s note, to include a passage that said the female student who was alleged to be the victim, “declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode.
Pogrebin said she believes the removal of the whole sentence was “done in haste in the editing process, as you know, for closing the section.” Pogrebin also acknowledged she and Kelly were involved in the decision to remove the words.
“We discussed it,” she said. “We think we felt like there was so much heat, you know, there’s so much — everyone has been kind of seizing on various aspects of this that we certainly didn’t want this to be an issue anymore. And we certainly never intended to mislead in any way. We wanted to give as full a story as possible.” [READ MORE…]