The New York Times reporters behind the controversial piece on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh claimed Monday night that key details missing from the sexual misconduct allegation may have been removed from the original draft in the editing process.
Late Sunday, The New York Times walked back an explosive report about a resurfaced allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh from his college days. The piece by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly was adapted from their forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation,” and alleged that there was corroboration of an incident in which Kavanaugh, as a college student at Yale, exposed himself to a female classmate at a party.
The paper was forced to issue an update that included the significant detail that several friends of the alleged victim said she did not recall the purported sexual assault. The newspaper also stated for the first time that the alleged victim refused to be interviewed, and has made no other comment about the episode.
Pogrebin and Kelly said in an interview that information was included in their original draft of the piece.
“In your draft of the article, did it include those words that have since been added to the article?” MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell asked.
“It did,” both Pogrebin and Kelly responded.
“So somewhere in the editing process, those words were trimmed,” O’Donnell said in clarification.
Pogrebin then explained that The Times doesn’t usually include names of victims and that she believed that when the editors removed the name, the crucial information that she didn’t remember was also removed.
“So I think it was just sort of an editing, you know, done in the haste in the editing process,” Pogrebin added.
“Were you involved in the decision to amend this and do the correction- the addition online to the piece?” O’Donnell followed.
“We discussed it,” Pogrebin said. “We felt like there was so much heat, there’s so much- everyone has been has been seizing on various aspects of this that we certainly didn’t want it to be an issue anymore and we certainly never intended to mislead in any way. We wanted to give as full of a story as possible.”