Kerry Berchem, a mutual friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has been trying to send text messages from Kavanaugh to the FBI, NBC News reported Monday. Berchem says the texts show Kavanaugh reaching out to people who could vouch for him, before the publication of the New Yorker article in which Ramirez alleged that Kavanaugh forcibly exposed himself to her during a drunken college party.
Who is Kerry Berchem?
Kerry Berchem, 51, was a classmate of Kavanaugh and Ramirez at Yale University. Today, she is a partner in the New York City law firm Akin Gump. According to her Twitter bio, she specializes in mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance.
What’s in the text messages?
They could be evidence of perjury. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last Thursday, Kavanaugh testified that he first heard about Deborah Ramirez’s allegations against him when the New Yorker article was published last week.
But the text messages apparently show that Kavanaugh knew about the allegations earlier and was soliciting support from acquaintances before the New Yorker piece came out. A former classmate, Karen Yarasavage, said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense. Two other messages show communication between Kavanaugh’s team and former classmates ahead of the story, NBC News reported.
Berchem reached out to the FBI, then Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), on Thursday. He notified the Senate Judiciary Committee and helped Berchem turn over the texts to the FBI.
“After we were made to jump through several hoops that delayed our moving forward, it became clear that the majority Committee staff had not turned this summary over to the FBI and, in fact, had no intention of turning it over to the FBI. With our assistance, Kerry submitted her summary to the FBI herself,” a Blumenthal spokesman said.
George Hartmann, a spokesman for Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, said “the texts from Ms. Berchem do not appear relevant or contradictory to Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony. This appears to be another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination with baseless innuendo by Democrats who have already decided to vote no.”
When contacted by NBC News for comment, Berchem sent a statement through a lawyer: “I understand that President Trump and the U.S. Senate have ordered an FBI investigation into certain allegations of sexual misconduct by the nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I have no direct or indirect knowledge about any of the allegations against him. However, I am in receipt of text messages from a mutual friend of both Debbie and mine that raise questions related to the allegations. I have not drawn any conclusions as to what the texts may mean or may not mean but I do believe they merit investigation by the FBI and the Senate.”
On Sunday, Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough a memo about the texts. After getting no response, she re-sent it on Monday morning, along with screenshots. “I’m sure he’s really busy and expect that he’ll get back to me,” said Berchem.