Short Take: Sucks To Be Leland Ingham Keyser

Imagine waking up one morning to learn that you’ve been named as the “other woman,” the only other woman to have been at a party 36 years ago where someone alleges she was sexually assaulted. Like Mark Judge, Leland Ingham Keyser didn’t ask to have her name on the front page.

“Ms. Keyser does not refute Dr. Ford’s account, and she has already told the press that she believes Dr. Ford’s account,” Keyser’s attorney, Howard Walsh, wrote in the letter, which was sent to the committee overnight Friday. “However, the simple and unchangeable truth is that she is unable to corroborate it because she has no recollection of the incident in question.”

The statement is curiously crafted to thread the needle of not being adversarial to the Ford accusation, while being unable to corroborate it. She doesn’t remember. She’s not saying it didn’t happen, and by asserting that “she believes” Ford’s account, she avoids the wrath of the unduly passionate even if it’s empty.

But there had been more to Keyser’s statement in an earlier iteration.

The previous statement, which Walsh released to CNN and the committee last week, said, “Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”

That she “doesn’t know” Kavanaugh muddies the waters even further. Does this mean she doesn’t know him because she has no recollection of having ever met him, or is she affirmatively saying she remembers her teenage years well enough and she never met this guy?

Either way, Keyser now finds herself in the eye of the storm, like Mark Judge, even though she did nothing to deserve this attention other than being named by Ford and, perhaps, going to a party of little consequence to her as a teen.

Even if someone had warned her, teenaged Leland, to be cautious in her actions, circumspect with people and places, was there anything she could do, or not do, that would have assured her that she wouldn’t find herself in the middle of this storm because someone else named her?

There is yet another person named by Ford who has managed to largely stay off the radar, no doubt because he’s male, yet isn’t alleged to have had any involvement in the sexual assault, and not female, and hence expected by assumptions of sisterhood to back up the account.

Another person Ford claims was at the party, Patrick J. Smyth, has issued a statement in a letter from his lawyer to the committee saying he had no knowledge of the party or the allegation.

“I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as ‘PJ’ who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post,” Smyth said in the statement. “I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.”

Would Smyth fail to recall a party at his house? It’s certainly possible, as this wasn’t exactly a huge affair, but more a routine “get together” as alleged by Ford. With nothing to contribute, he’s largely escaped notice. Unfortunately for Keyser, expectations of her are more rigorous, even though there’s no reason they should be.

In her testimony Ford said she remembered that Keyser, a longtime friend, was present at the party, but that it is not surprising Keyser would not recall the party because Ford did not tell her about the alleged assault at the time.

“Oh no, she didn’t know about the event,” Ford told the committee, “She was downstairs during the event and I did not share it with her.”

There is nothing surprising about any of this, even though the eyes of believers stare at Keyser as if she should remember, she should corroborate, because she is one of them and her refusal to do so is a betrayal of the cause.

She doesn’t remember. She doesn’t remember a party, and she doesn’t know Kavanaugh. She didn’t ask to be your salvation. She was just a teenaged girl who was named by Ford. It’s not her fault for not being your salvation 36 years later.

10 thoughts on “Short Take: Sucks To Be Leland Ingham Keyser

  1. Richard Kopf


    If I were counsel to Judge or Keyser I would advise either one to decline to participate in an FBI interview. Would I be wrong?

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      If and when that was revealed, as it surely would be, would that not subject them to outraged speculation alone? There’s no exit, as Sartre might say.

      1. Richard Kopf

        Thanks. That is an angle that I had not properly considered. I still lean toward silence, however, even though your French philosopher friend was fond of saying “We are our choices.”

        All the best.


      2. Lawrence Kaplan

        SHG: I think that Keyser could decline without being subject to outrage. First, she is a woman, and second she has not been accused of wrongdoing. I agree with you about Judge.

    2. JF

      Look at it this way. There’s a lot to lose and not much to gain. By making statements through attorneys (and I assume they could have one during an FBI interview), they are probably sticking their necks out as much as they care to do.

  2. Glenn Thigpen

    Leland Ingham Keyser is the biggest hurdle that Doctor Ford should have to overcome but it is just a blip on the radar of her testimony. [Ed. Note: Balance deleted. Argue your case against Ford elsewhere.]

  3. B. McLeod

    And there was a mystery fourth male at the alleged party, whenever and wherever it was (or wasn’t). Apparently he has yet to be named.

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