A friend of Christine Blasey Ford is speaking out publicly for the first time to deny an allegation that Ford lied during testimony when she said she had never given advice on how to take a polygraph.
Monica McLean, a retired FBI agent and friend of Ford, told CNN that the “allegations are completely false.”
She told CNN that she is furious that her reputation is now being called into question by a “lie” that has thrust her into the national spotlight. McLean spoke to CNN after a sworn declaration questioning the veracity of Ford’s testimony was leaked to Fox News after being provided to the Judiciary Committee.
In the declaration, which was obtained by CNN, a man who says he dated Ford in the mid-90s, wrote that he “witnessed Dr. Ford help Monica McLean prepare for a polygraph examination.”
The man’s name was redacted in written declarations obtained by media outlets. CNN has identified him as Brian Merrick. In Merrick’s statement he made clear their relationship did not end amicably.
Merrick has refused to discuss the allegation with CNN.
He wrote that it was his understanding that McLean was applying for jobs with the FBI and the US Attorney’s office at the time he witnessed Ford helping with the polygraph.
“Ford explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous for the exam. Dr. Ford was able to help because of her background in psychology, ” he wrote.
McLean vehemently denied those allegations.
“I have never had anyone assist me with the preparation of any polygraph. Ever. Not my entry polygraph, not my 5-year reinvestigation polygraphs. Never. I am extremely angry he would make this up,” said McLean.
During Ford’s hours-long testimony to on Capitol Hill last Friday, when she was asked if she had ever had discussion with anyone besides her attorneys on how to take a polygraph, she said “never.”
Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor who was hired by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to lead the questioning of Ford for the Republicans, followed up asking if Ford had “ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test?”
“Never,” said Ford.
In a letter sent to Ford’s attorneys on Tuesday, Grassley requested additional information related to Ford’ polygraph, which she took before her Hill testimony.
“The full details of Dr. Ford’s polygraph examination are particularly important because the Senate Judiciary Committee has received a sworn statement from a longtime boyfriend of Dr. Fords, starting that he personally witnessed Dr. Ford coaching a friend on polygraph examinations,” Grassley wrote.
Ford stands by her testimony, according to a member of her legal team.
It’s among accusations targeting the credibility of the women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement highlighting a lawsuit brought against Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick 18 years ago by a company she briefly worked for at the time called WebTrends Corporation. The lawsuit was dismissed shortly after it was filed in late 2000, the court documents show.
The new allegation against Ford also come as Trump mocked Ford during a campaign rally Tuesday night in his most direct attack against her.
“I had one beer. Well, do you think it was – nope, it was one beer,” Trump said during the rally in Southaven, Mississippi. “How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know.”
When asked if it was appropriate for Trump to mock Ford, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the President was pointing out factual inconsistencies.
“She’s been treated like a Faberge egg by all of us, beginning with me and the President. He’s pointing out factual inconsistencies. Do you have corroboration for her claims? Excuse me, can you fill in her memory gaps, her factual inconsistencies?,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
However, Sen. Jeff Flake, who along with two other senators holds the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination in the balance said, “there’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday morning.
“To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. I wish he hadn’t had done it. It’s kind of appalling,” the Arizona Republican said.
Flake, who is on the Judiciary Committee, forced the White House to re-open the FBI background investigation into Kavanaugh after multiple accusations of sexual assault. He asked for an additional week for the FBI to investigate, which comes to a close on Friday.
Meanwhile, McConnell said Tuesday that a vote would happen on Kavanaugh’s nomination by the end of the week regardless of the results of the FBI investigation.
CNN’s Ariane de Vogue, Jim Acosta and Clare Foran contributed to this report.