Sundance documentary looks at Brett Kavanaugh . investigation

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 07: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh poses for an official portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building on October 7, 2022.

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A new documentary looks at allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and raised questions about the depth of the FBI’s investigation in 2018.

“Justice,” by filmmaker Doug Liman, premieres Friday night at Sundance Film Festival to a sold-out theater surrounded by armed guards.

The film, made under conditions of high secrecy, focuses on allegations made by Deborah Ramirez, Kavanaugh’s Yale classmate, that were detailed in a 2018 New Yorker article. Ramirez Allegedly, during a gathering with friends when she was a freshman in 1983, Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and pushed his penis into hers. Kavanaugh has denied those claims. “Justice” also played a tape recording of a tip to the FBI from another Yale classmate, Max Stier, describing a similar incident that the FBI had never investigated.

Stier’s report was previously detailed by New York Times reporters Robin Pogebrin and Kate Kelly in 2019 as part of their book “Brett Kavanaugh’s Education: An Investigation”. But its details have been scrutinized. After the story was posted online but before it was published, the Times revised the story to add that the book reported that the woman believed to be involved in the incident refused to be interviewed and Her friends say she doesn’t remember anything about the incident. incident.

Stier was not interviewed directly about the film and declined requests from the filmmakers to comment on the content. An unnamed person whose voice was controlled to remain anonymous provided the Stier tape to the filmmakers.

Kavanaugh is sworn in 114th justice of the United States Supreme Court in October 2018 following a close 50-48 roll call following a heated argument over sexual misconduct. He staunchly denies the accusations of Christine Blasey Ford, who says he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Many of the people mentioned in the film, from Kavanaugh herself to some of Ramirez’s friends who were supposed to be there, also refused to speak or never responded.

“Justice” specifically criticized the FBI investigation that followed the hearings. Through FOIA inquiries, the filmmakers discovered that about 4,500 tips were sent to the subline without being investigated.

One of Ramirez’s friends from Yale, who was interviewed for the film, provided a text message in which a mutual friend admitted to having been contacted by “Kavanaugh’s people” and involved in the story that Ramirez I don’t remember everything exactly.

Blasey Ford only appears in the new trailer during the first few moments of “Justice,” asking Liman, a filmmaker best known for “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity,” why he made this movie — a question he could not answer.

In a Q&A after the film, Liman said he was simply offended after seeing her testimony in 2018. The making of the film, which they financed themselves, is kept secret. secret. Everyone signs non-disclosure agreements, Liman said, and they even have codenames for those who agree to participate. He said people are “terrified” and those who come forward are “heroes”.

Much of the focus is on telling Ramirez’s story – where she came from, how she ended up at Yale and who she was and what she was. Several trauma scholars, as well as lawyers, help explain why memories of traumatic events are reliably disrupted and how such gaps can be repaired. weaponization prosecutor.

“Justice”‘s surprise entry to the festival was announced on Thursday, the festival’s first day, but it quickly became one of the most anticipated of more than 100 films. Launching at Sundance was to make a splash and secure a distributor. As many of the lawyers in the film say, what matters is whether Kavanaugh perjured under oath.

When asked what he wanted to happen when audiences watched Justice, Liman said, “I feel like the work ends with the movie and what happens after that is out of my control.”

Standing beside him, his producer Amy Hardy said she disagreed. Hardy said she hopes it will cause outrage and lead to “a real investigation with subpoena powers.”


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