During her testimony on Thursday morning, Christine Blasey Ford offered one point of information that she felt could narrow down the time frame of the alleged incident in which she says she was assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a gathering at a house in Maryland when they were in high school.
She described having seen Kavanaugh’s classmate Mark Judge — who she alleges was in the room when the attack occurred — shortly after the alleged incident.
“I did see Mark Judge once at the Potomac Village Safeway after the time of the attack,” she said, “and it would be helpful with anyone’s resources if — to figure out when he worked there if people are wanting more details from me about when the attack occurred. If we could find out when he worked there, then I could provide a more detailed timeline about when the attack occurred.”
Responding to questions from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Ford gave more details about that alleged encounter.
“I was going to the Potomac Village Safeway — this is the one on the corner of Falls and River Road,” she said. “And I was with my mother and I was a teenager, so I wanted her to go in one door and me the other. I chose the wrong door because the door I chose was the one where Mark Judge — it looked like he was working there and arranging the shopping carts.
“I said hello to him, and his face was white and very uncomfortable saying hello back,” she continued. “And we had previously been friendly at the times that we saw each other over the previous two years . . . I wouldn’t characterize him as not friendly, he was just nervous and not really wanting to speak with me. He looked a little bit ill.”
“How long did this occur after the incident?” Durbin asked.
“I would estimate six to eight weeks,” Ford replied.
To Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ford offered some ways in which the time frame of Judge’s employment might be ascertained by the committee: perhaps “through employment records or the IRS or anything,” she said.
There’s a better source, as it turns out: Judge’s book, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” published in 1997.
In one passage, beginning on Page 92, Judge describes his time working at a grocery store in the context of his drinking problem (emphasis added):
“It was the *summer before senior year,* and by now, even though I wasn’t drinking every day, I was completely hooked. Going a week without getting drunk was unthinkable. I was spending between four and seven nights with the gang, either at a party or at O’Rourke’s.”
Elsewhere in the book, Judge describes one of his acquaintances at the time, someone named “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who vomited in a car after a party.
Judge continues (again, emphasis added):
“Of course, alcoholics also get into all kinds of trouble because of their drinking. When they supersede their own tolerance, they suffer catastrophic hangovers. These can make getting through the day an Olympic event. This was never more evident to me than when, *to raise money for football camp, I spent a few weeks working as a bag boy at the local supermarket.*
“My job was simple. People would leave their grocery baskets against a rail in front of the store, then pull their cars around. I would then sling their groceries in the car, sometimes get a small tip, and then wait for the next car.
“It was a nightmare. Invariably I would be hungover – or still drunk – when I got to work at seven in the morning, and I spent most of the first hour just trying to hold myself together.”
Judge graduated from high school in 1983. The summer before his senior year, then, would have been the summer of 1982.
We know when that football camp occurred because Kavanaugh, in an effort to demonstrate that he hadn’t been at any such party as described by Ford, released his personal calendar from that summer.
Here’s the entry for August 22, 1982: “FOOTBALL CAMP STARTS”
Judge worked for a grocery store for several weeks before that camp, meaning he probably worked there for a period in late July to mid-August.
Ford said she saw him working at a store “six to eight weeks” after the alleged incident. The end of that period — obviously just an estimated window — could overlap with any point of Judge’s tenure at the store. The alleged incident could have been six weeks before Aug. 22, for example, or it could have been eight weeks before the end of July.
That window, it’s worth noting, could include July 1, a day on which Kavanaugh’s calendar lists, “Go to Timmy’s for Skis w/ Judge, Tom, PJ, Bernie, Squi.” What “skis” refers to isn’t clear, but it might be a reference to “brewskis,” a then-popular slang term for beer. “Judge” refers to Mark Judge; “PJ” to Patrick Smyth, who Ford on Thursday again indicated was also at the gathering where she alleges she was assaulted.
The precise date is still murky. Judge’s book not only suggests that the summer of 1982 was probably the period during which the alleged incident occurred but also makes the likelihood that he was heavily intoxicated — as Ford has claimed — greater.
Judge’s book also might help explain why he looked ill the morning she says she saw him.
Washington Post writer Alice Crites contributed to this report.
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