By KENNETH DEL VECCHIO
This is a frightening time; a time of a true craze. It’s a time when the bedrocks of American justice – “innocent until proven guilty” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” – are in jeopardy. It’s a time when America could devolve into becoming a nation with a criminal justice system equivalent to those of dictatorial, fascist governments. It’s a time when people are calling for others’ heads based solely upon the accusations of one person, with no evidence corroborating the claims. And that’s awful frightening.
Think about your son, daughter, husband, mother, father (whoever it is that you love the most). If that person suddenly got arrested (or even had his/her career ruined) because another person claimed he/she pointed a gun in his face – should your loved one’s life be destroyed? In a case where there is absolutely no corroborating evidence? Just because one person claimed that your loved one pointed a gun in his face? If your answer is yes, that is indeed quite scary…
And if your answer is “yes”, at this moment, it likely fruits from the brewing craze that has boiled over into the Kavanaugh/Ford case. You might, however, want to revisit the adage “be careful what you wish for” – on two bases: (1) it’s doubtful that you actually are that evil where you would really think your loved one should be prosecuted for a crime based solely upon one person’s word; and (2) Christine Blasey Ford could be first-in-line to be prosecuted based upon the accusation of a singular individual. Just one example of many contradictions in her sworn testimony:
Ford’s ex-boyfriend, at the risk of being charged with perjury, stated that she lied under oath when she testified in front of the U.S. Senate. Specifically, he said that she had previously prepped a friend for a lie detector test. Ford told the senate, very particularly, that she never prepped anyone for a polygraph test. Ford should not be charged with a crime under this circumstance, however, because this is just another he-said, she-said case.
Certain politicians and pundits are arguing that Kavanaugh misrepresented himself regarding his drinking habits in high school/college. Although he specifically testified under oath that, at times, he drank “excessively” and vomited from drinking via a weak stomach, some claim that his testimony is disputed by a few college classmates. On CNN earlier this week, Jeffrey Toobin refuted the strength of such arguments, as these adverse classmates have merely used different words (i.e. synonyms) to describe Kavanaugh’s then-drinking. When Toobin, a notoriously heavy-handed liberal legal analyst, shoots down a far left law-related claim, it speaks volumes. In other words, the alleged contradictions in Kavanaugh’s testimony about his early-days’ alcohol consumption do not exist; semantics exist. Here, it’s not even a he-said, she-said case. It’s an embarrassing act of desperation to ruin this man, so a partisan group can prevent Kavanaugh from reaching the Supreme Court.
Bret Kavanaugh will not be turned away by the U.S. Senate because his descriptive words of his drinking habits are not the identical words chosen by every, single person who has spoken up about his liquor intake; most people from his past have used Kavanaugh’s exact choice of vocabulary, a handful have elected to use synonymous verbiage.
Kavanaugh will not be denied the seat because he came across indignant, upset, and angry at the hearings; most consider this a normal reaction to being falsely accused of a serious crime and would think it strange if he were cold and unemotional.
Kavanaugh will not be barred from the Supreme Court because a nut case said that he spiked punch with qualudes at a string of “gang rape” parties. Aside from the fact that the woman reversed her sworn statement in an NBC interview and provided “witnesses” who were either dead or denied her claims, the story is a fantastic, unbelievable mess.
Kavanaugh will not be blocked from ascending to the highest court of the land because of the Ramirez dropped-pants account. The supposed victim called a cache of Yale classmates, asking if they recalled the incident – because she could not remember if Kavanaugh was the perpetrator. Enough said for this yet-another completely uncorroborated accusation.
And Kavanaugh will not be sent packing by the U.S. Senate because he may have thrown an ice cube at someone in bar. In layman’s speak, that’s pretty funny – and who cares.
That leaves the Ford story.
The judge will remain a judge in face of it. And he will, almost definitely, become an even higher-level judge in face of it. And that’s because the Ford story appears to be just that—a story. The woman cannot remember key details of where it happened and when it happened. She suffers from having a “retrieved” memory, which is inherently unreliable. And all four of the people who were supposedly at the party have either responded with a denial of the event or that they do not remember it occurring. Again, this is semantics as there is one common denominator among them: they do not corroborate Ford’s story.
The phrase “almost definitely” was utilized in the first sentence of the above paragraph. And that’s because although the FBI report has been submitted, the senate has not yet voted. IF…IF…IF the FBI had reported actual, credible corroboration for Ford’s story, then members of the U.S. Senate would have a basis to vote “no” on confirmation of Kavanaugh’s appointment. “Corroboration” means what all normal, rational, justice-seeking persons think it means: eye witness testimony, video, audio, forensic evidence, and confessions. IF…IF…IF the FBI report, a report from law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the alleged offense occurred, and/or a report from the U.S. Senate investigators provided for actual corroborating, credible evidence, then Ford’s story may not be just a story. Then, it may be true. However, the IF has not occurred.
Quite to the contrary, it appears that not only is there no credible corroborating evidence, but there is no credible evidence, at all, to support a claim of sexual assault carried out by Brett Kavanaugh. The official U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee response to the FBI report is that there is not even a hint of corroborating evidence to support a claim of sexual assault.
IF…IF…IF there is credible, corroborating evidence that Ford lied under oath – to support her ex-boyfriend’s assertion that she prepped a friend for a lie detector test – then Ford should be charged with a crime. At this point, it appears that no such credible, corroborating evidence exists.
No one should be charged with a crime based upon a he-said, she-said case – a case where it is simply one person’s word versus another’s, with no corroborating evidence.
No one should be dragged through harrowing, public hearings and/or lose a job and/or be denied a promotion based upon a he-said, she-said case – a case where it is simply one person’s word versus another’s, with no corroborating evidence.
It is justified and warranted for a non-public investigation of an unsupported allegation of a crime to occur – to determine if there is any corroborating evidence. Unfortunately, in the Kavanaugh case, politicians and media personnel obliterated the justice of such a normal legal endeavor. Now, the world knows, all too well, of a bunch of he-said, she-said accusations – and that Kavanaugh threw ice in college. Given that the FBI report has been delivered – with its non-corroborating results – Kavanaugh should immediately be confirmed by the senate, and Ford should go home. But if any credible, corroborating evidence is accrued, then those that may have committed crimes, including false accusers, should be charge accordingly (so long as a prosecutor believes he/she can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt).
The ultimate takeaway from the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing debacle: a law should be enacted, both at the state and federal levels, making it illegal to ever prosecute a person based solely upon the testimony of one person. Without corroborating evidence to buttress the singular claim issued in a he-said, she-said case, the government should be prohibited from prosecuting these “one person’s word versus another’s” cases. Then, and only then, shall “innocent until proven guilty” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” obtain their true constitutional meanings. And then, and only then, can America be freed from this frightening craze.
Kenneth Del Vecchio is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM/New Jersey & New York Law Journal Books. He is a former judge, a former prosecutor and a practicing criminal/litigating attorney for 24 years, wherein he has tried over 400 cases; he is partner in the prestigious law firm, Stern, Kilcullen & Rufolo. Mr. Del Vecchio is also an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, Cinedigm, and E-1 Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. A best-selling political thriller novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years old. Additionally, Mr. Del Vecchio is the founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.” A regular legal and political analyst on the major news networks, Mr. Del Vecchio formerly served as the publisher and editorial page editor for a New Jersey daily newspaper.