The accusers' perjury hedges

Monica Showalter:
Christine Blasey Ford set off a few red flags from the get-go, not only because of first her insistence on anonymity in making the charges, then her vague recall of critical details such as when the incident was and how she got there, and finally her lawyer's crazy conditions for her client to testify before the Senate, insisting that only male Senate members ask questions, Kavanaugh speak first, and lots of time to set up the Senate hearings due to the Hawaii-commuting professor's suddenly disclosed fear of flying, alongside her false claim that the Senate insisted she sit at the same table as Kavanaugh as she made her charges.

All of those could be called small perjury hedges. Her defenders might argue that those aren't hedges at all. But there is a big one: the fact that she sent her letter accusing Kavanaugh to Rep. Anna Eshoo, who sits in a House seat of no importance to the Senate confirmation – and didn't send it to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sits in a Senate seat of significant importance.

Why could she have done that? Well, because sending a letter to Eshoo (and hoping it stays anonymous) means it's not under oath, because Eshoo is of no importance to the matter. Sending it to Feinstein means that it is under oath, because it's sent as evidence for the case.

Now it looks like a perjury hedge. Nobody can get her on a Robert Mueller-style lying-to-the-investigators rap if the charges don't pan out, given that she sent her letter to Eshoo, and what's more, Feinstein, who has the letter now, doesn't want to release it into the testimony pile.

Here's the second thing: All of the three people named as witnesses in the incident, including the female, Leland Keyser, did send letters to the Senate, under oath, as did Kavanaugh. That's four people – and they all said nothing happened. They didn't take a perjury hedge. If they're lying, they can be busted, quite unlike Ford, the accuser.

In the case of the second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who was a student at Yale and claims that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her, we have the same perjury-hedge dynamic. She's spoken only to the press, and in the wake of intense solicitation from those parts. And she's on stage one of the Ford style of accusations: lots of hazy and indistinct memories that she became sure of only just recently. Muddled memories certainly can be read any way a person wants them to be read. They're also a convenient hedge against perjury, since a defense team can't come up with pinned details to refute them.
If Showalter is right it raises a question of whether the accuses will actually show up.  In my nearly 50 years of being a lawyer, I don't recall ever seeing an accusing witness so flakey when it comes to testifying. 


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