Friend of Ford told FBI she was pressured into altering statement

A friend of Christine Blasey Ford told the FBI that allies of the college professor, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, pressured her to revise her earlier statement that she knew nothing about the alleged incident, according to a report.

Leland Keyser, who Ford has said was present at the house when she was assaulted in 1982, told investigators that retired FBI agent Monica McLean, a friend of Ford’s, had urged her to clarify her statement, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Keyser, a classmate of Ford, originally wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 23 she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present.”

After the Supreme Court nominee and his accuser testified in front of the committee last week, Keyser wrote a letter to the panel dated Sept. 29 in which she said she did not refute Ford’s claim, but “is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question,” according to CNN.

Kavanaugh has denied all allegations of sexual assault.

The FBI, which sent a report Thursday about its additional background probe on Kavanaugh, later provided the White House and Senate with additional material that included text messages from McLean to Keyser, a person familiar with the matter told the Journal.

McLean’s lawyer, David Laufman, said in a statement: “Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false.”

A source close to the classmates told the paper that it was her understanding that mutual friends of Ford and Keyser — including McLean — warned Keyser that her initial statement was being used by Republicans to rebut the accusation against Kavanaugh.

The friends told Keyser that if she had meant to say she didn’t recall the party — not that it had never taken place — that she should clarify her statement, the person said, adding that the pals hadn’t “pressured” Keyser.

Keyser attorney Howard Walsh declined to comment to the Journal. The FBI also declined to comment on the probe.

The report comes as the Senate is set to take a procedural vote at 10:30 a.m. Friday to end debate on the nomination. If a simple majority is in favor, the Senate will be able to move to a final confirmation vote as soon as Saturday.

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