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Former Kavanaugh classmate denies knowledge of sexual assault

US Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh

Another former classmate of Supreme Court appointee Brett Kavanaugh denies he attended a high school party where a California professor says the nominee sexually assaulted her three decades ago, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Patrick J. Smyth sent a letter to Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and top Democrat Dianne Feinstein in which he denies seeing any “improper conduct” by Kavanaugh, a classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, according to CNN, which obtained a copy of the letter.

The committee, which oversees Supreme Court nominations, has called a hearing for Monday in which both Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, could testify.

Ford’s lawyers said on Tuesday, however, that she wants her allegations to be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation before she appears at a US Senate hearing.

A Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge, who Ford has also said was present during the assault, previously told Grassley through a lawyer he did not want to speak publicly. Judge, who has written about his teenage alcoholism, said he had no memory of party and had never seen Kavanaugh behave in the manner she described.

In the meantime, Smyth told the committee he volunteered the statement to safeguard his own privacy and anonymity.

“I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as ‘PJ’ who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post,” Smyth said in his letter, CNN reported.

“I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”

It was not clear where and when Ford had identified Smyth as being present at the 1982 party in suburban Maryland, where she said Kavanaugh pinned her down and tried to take her clothes off while another friend watched.

The accusations have roiled a confirmation process that once seemed smooth for Kavanaugh, who could consolidate the conservative grip on the top US court.

Democrats, already opposed to the conservative federal appeals court judge, have sought an FBI investigation, a request Republicans rebuffed.

Trump said on Tuesday both sides should tell their stories but fiercely defended his nominee.

The confirmation fight comes just weeks before Nov. 6 congressional elections, in which Democrats seek to win control of Congress from Trump’s fellow Republicans.

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