i trust my inner private investigator

Let me begin by establishing my creds. I spent seven years as a private investigator specializing in criminal defense. I had a contract with a public defender program and I helped defend people accused of serious felonies. Murder, armed robbery, rape, just about any criminal horror one person can inflict on another.

I have no idea how many rape cases I’ve worked. A lot. I have no idea how many rape victims I’ve interviewed. But I know this. In seven years there was never a single case in which I thought an adult woman making an accusation of any form of sexual assault was lying about it. Sometimes they got details confused, sometimes their accounts were jumbled, but I never ever had the sense that they were making it up. And remember, I was employed by the lawyer defending the accused rapist.

Seven years of criminal defense work has made me too cynical to accept the notion that women and girls never lie about sexual assault. People are capable of lying about everything. Earlier I specifically referred to adult women making accusations because I worked a case in which a girl who’d just turned 13 did, in fact, demonstrably lie about being sexually assaulted in order to get an adult in trouble. I also worked a case in which I suspected a teen-aged girl might have been lying.

So, just to be clear, in seven years of investigating I had one case in which I know an alleged teen-aged victim was lying and one case in which the victim might have been lying. I accept that it’s always possible that somebody claiming to have been sexually assaulted could be lying about it. But my experience suggests it’s incredibly rare, and I’ve never seen it from an adult.

Christine Blakely Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her back in the early 1980s. He categorically denies it. My training makes it impossible for me to simply accept either account. One of them is probably lying. (I say ‘probably’ because sometimes the world is just flat out weird as fuck and almost anything is possible.)

I can think of no logical reason for Ford to lie about this. I can think of no logical reason she would have first told it as a lie six years ago in couples therapy, long before anybody considered Kavanaugh might become a Justice on the Supreme Court. I can think of no logical benefit or advantage Ms. Ford might obtain by lying about this.

On the other hand, it’s easy to think of dozens of reasons for Brett Kavanaugh to lie about it. It’s easy to think of dozens of ways Kavanaugh would benefit from lying about this. It’s very easy indeed to believe that the existence of a letter signed by 65 women saying they knew Kavanaugh during his prep school years and that he was a complete gentleman toward women — a letter obviously prepared prior to Ms. Ford’s public accusation — is evidence that Kavanaugh was seeding the field to bolster a lie.

Does that mean Kavanaugh MUST be lying and Ford MUST be telling the truth? No. It simply means there’s ample reason to believe her and almost no reason to believe him.

I keep hearing folks say Always believe the women. I can’t. I’d like to, but I can’t. Everything in my experience — everything in my experience — tells me that if a woman says she’s been sexually harassed or assaulted, she’s almost certainly telling the truth. Every day our culture reinforces that ugly truth. But despite all that, when I hear an accusation of sexual assault, my inner PI forces me to weigh the accuser against the accused.

I’ve done that in this case. And at this point my inner PI has arrived at this conclusion with a high degree of confidence: Brett Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.

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27 thoughts on “i trust my inner private investigator

  1. I read the Washington Post story on this today. It answered the question about why she is coming out now, and it answered credibly: her identity was becoming known, and she was encountering the exact thing she had intended to avoid by keeping things private, without coming out herself. So, it makes perfect sense that she would come on out in the open to be able to tell her side of the story.

    And this letter by the 65 women? Methinks the judge doth protest too much.

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    • I’ve almost completely stopped reading the NY Times because their ‘both sides’ editorial approach tends to suggest the arguments of both sides have equal merit. WaPo does a much better job.

      And yeah, they’ve done an excellent job of covering this story and vetting Ms. Ford (or is she Dr. Ford — I don’t recall; I think she’s got her PhD, yes?). She certainly seems like a solid and credible witness.

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  2. Not only was her first report not long before he was considered for SC, it was precisely when he was named by every major news outlet as being considered for SC by Romney.

    You interviewed complainants in ongoing criminal investigations. How many of these complainants made their initial report 30 years after the fact? Wh

    You allow that women might get some details wrong (in these contemporaneous investigations), but discount the exponential effect over 3 decades? Just to present a false choice: “one of the is lying?”

    No allowance for effects of time and input on memory? From a professional investigator? Wow.

    Innocent people respond with “I didn’t do it.” This doesn’t become a lie simply because a guilty person would say the same thing.

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    • Her first account of the event was six years earlier, during couples therapy. This was long before his nomination to SCOTUS. And yes, of course, time plays a factor when it comes to memory. It’s not her memory I trust.

      I trust two things: first, the reality that this sort of shit happens with alarming frequency — men forcing or attempting to force themselves on women. It’s the culture we live in. So I’m never surprised when a woman says a man tried to rape her.

      Second, I trust this detail of her account: she says there was a third person in the room — a friend of Kavanaugh. People who make up a lie DO NOT include a witness who is a friend of the person being accused.

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      • You didn’t say it was long before his nomination. You said long before he was considered. She made the allegation in the very year he was being considered – strongly by Romney – as evidenced by the news accounts of the time. (Google)

        On top of that, her husband reported to WaPo that she specifically cited the possibility of him being elevated to SC.

        That’s the problem with “this” woman accusing “this” man.

        As an investigator, I’d want to know how she knew Kavanaugh. Where did they meet, what was their relationship prior/afte (if any), general description of how they came to be at same house at same time, etc x 1,000.

        Specifics aren’t as important as general connections – you might not know/forget whose house it was, but you’d know how you came to be there.

        Also, she’s been a counselor for quite some time between the incident and her first admission of it. Study and experience would surely provide countless examples of people working through memories, starting at A and ending up at Z.

        Her first admission comes with 30 years of life experience piled on top of the incident. I dont think she’s “lying,” but as an investigator, I really don’t care. Facts are what I’m after, not truth.

        If you believe her, I’m not going to criticize or belittle. But they’re both strangers to me, and one has given me no facts on which I can judge this allegation.

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  3. “I can think of no logical reason for Ford to lie about this.” That kind of dampened your credential. A reasonable person, not an expert, can point to several obvious reasons, incentive or motivation for Ford to lie. And you just discounted all of them without even mentioning or reasoning. I can’t believe you are impartial in this political arena.

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    • No, I’m not impartial in the political arena. But I try to be impartial when it comes to human behavior.

      I can think of lots of reasons Dr. Ford might lie about being assaulted…but none of those reasons are logical. She has a LOT to lose by speaking out. She knows she’s going to be the target of intense scrutiny, she knows she’s going to be vilified, she knows this is going to affect her family, she knows this one event will overshadow her entire professional career. I can think of no logical reason she’d tell a lie and risk all that.

      If you can think of a logical reason, I’d be interested in hearing it. Seriously.

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      • Of course, she knows she is going to be criticized and investigated. That’s why she scrubbed her social media before doing that. But on the other side, she stands to gain her status tremendously in the political arena which obviously she is quite active. She won’t lose her job as a professor for sure but will gain national fame.

        Her lie won’t be a lie if no one can prove it wrong. That’s apparently what she is doing, not enough details are offered to be proved wrong, and then it will remain always a myth, for her to benefit on.

        As an investigator, how many high profile political figure have you encountered? This is not a typical party-gone-wild case.

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      • I keep hearing the same two arguments about why she’d lie. 1) She’s lying in order to derail Kavanaugh’s nomination, and 2) she’s lying because she wants attention or fame.

        Perhaps she does< want to derail his nomination, but maybe she wants to do that because he attempted to rape her. That’s a perfectly valid reason for her to want him NOT to be on the Supreme Court.

        As to your suggestion that she will “gain national fame”, that makes no sense to me. Can you name a woman (or a man, for that matter) who has gained renown or is celebrated for being a victim of sexual assault? I can’t even think of somebody who has gained notoriety for being the victim of sexual assault, let alone anything like fame.

        No, sorry, I just don’t buy it.

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  4. Dead on. Thank you for putting forth an impartial analysis. For some reason — who are we kidding, it’s because I’m a woman — when I say I believe her it’s because of her sex. Because apparently we all have a knee-jerk reaction to assume men commit this violence.
    No. I believe her because the evidence (even without a rape kit) is overwhelming.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My experience as a prosecutor (including sexual assault cases) leads me to a similar conclusion. It troubles me to hear so many senators and pundits with an obvious political interest in the outcome of this matter, try to suggest that Dr. Ford is “mistaken” or worse, lying. While we hardly ever have a smoking gun in a rape case because they tend to happen in private and without physical injury, her account has many indicia of credibility. (1) she passed a professionally administered polygraph, (2) she sought medical treatment in the form of therapy and she told a therapist the story in 2012, before any conceivable motive to lie about Kavanaugh, (3) she told consistent accounts to her husband and other friends, (4) her husband and friends observed behavior consistent with prior sexual assault e.g. her inability to sleep in a bedroom with out an exterior door for fear of being trapped, (5)her willingness to testify under oath and calls for independent investigation, (6) her placing another person in the room as an eye witness (why do that if you were going to lie?), and (7) the specificity of the description itself including her clothing and Kavanaugh’s inability to complete the rape. She told a friend that she feared that because it was only an “attempt” the account might not matter to people. Why not just allege a full on rape if you wanted lie? On the other hand, there is no indication that Kavanaugh would be willing to submit to polygraph; his friend who was in the room refuses to testify under oath or cooperate in investigation, despite writing at length about the drinking, sex and partying culture of Georgetown prep at the time, I’m fact describing parties similar to the party described by Dr. Ford.

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    • I completely agree. And I think it’s smart for Dr Ford to ask for an FBI investigation before she testifies in front of Congress. It’s one thing for either she or Kavanaugh to lie to Congress; it’s another matter altogether to lie to the FBI. I can’t recall anybody ever being punished for lying to Congress, but you only have to look at the Mueller investigation to see what happens to folks who lie to the FBI.

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    • Obviously, you missed the fact the other commenter pointed out, that was the time Kavanaugh was seriously considered by Romney for SCOTUS.
      “(2) she sought medical treatment in the form of therapy and she told a therapist the story in 2012, before any conceivable motive to lie about Kavanaugh,”

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      • Obviously you missed the fact that Romney was never the president. Are you seriously suggesting this woman concocted this story about Kavanaugh in 2012 and told her therapist about it just in case Romney got elected, on the chance that he MIGHT consider Kavanaugh as a candidate?

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  6. You people are ridiculous. There is no proof. She said nothing back then, where is the rape report? The reason for this on her part? She’s a leftist who wants to derail the nomination. Confirm him. I’m tired of accusations that can’t be proved. Democrats are being ridiculous.

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    • Hi Marti. I totally understand how you feel about accusations that can’t be proven. We just see those accusations coming from different quarters. You see them coming from a woman who says she was traumatized by a sexual assault when she was fifteen; I see them from a president who seems unable to distinguish between the truth and a lie — or who is simply indifferent to it

      But thanks for speaking up.

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  7. “private investigator specializing in criminal defense”
    So where is your PROOF to back that statement up?
    You wrote this biased article with a conclusion already established in your mind. too many hotheaded personal opinions and vague situations. My professional side is that you lack a huge amount of impartiality- so really I think your opinion- and credibility is the only sack of shit here!

    Or did women pay you to write this?

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    • I’m not at all impartial, and never claimed to be. But here’s a thing folks never consider when it comes to criminal defense investigation. My job was to gather facts and information and present it to the defense lawyer. If it helped the defendant, fine — the lawyer needed that information. If it hurt the defendant, equally fine — the lawyer needed to know that information as well. So I may not be impartial, but I’ve been trained to put my personal biases aside and just gather information and analyze it.

      Before the hearing, I was inclined to believe Dr. Ford because her account of the event — what she remembered, what she forgot, how it influenced her life — was in keeping with the vast majority of rape and attempted rape cases I’ve encountered. I was inclined to believe her because she had no logical incentive to lie about it.

      Now that I’ve seen both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testify, I’m even more convinced that she’s telling the truth and he’s lying. Do I have proof of that? No, of course not. But her demeanor was consistent with a woman who suffered a traumatic event, and his demeanor was consistent of a sexual abuser. Google DARVO and you’ll see what I mean.

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    • You seriously think she’s in this for the coin? If that was so, why did they end the Gofundme campaign? They could have made a lot more money.

      I’m inclined to think your comment says more about you and your own ethics than it does about her.

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  8. Greg, another great post, You are speaking from experience and the understanding of human nature. I also think and believe that Judge K. Is a lying sack of s–t. I wish we would get smart and Term Limit every Gov’t office, 2×6 yrs. for Senators, 3×4 yrs. for House, 15 yrs max for Judges. Our own Congressman for Life Don Young is a perfect example of this. They are like the African Dictators who are still ruling into their 90+ yrs. We need some young men and women representing us. These old foagies can go and play golf with Agent Orangeman…

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