Interviews with friends and acquaintances of Dr. Ford paint a picture of a guarded person, one more interested in discussions of sports and science than politics and personal trauma.
.. In recent days, Dr. Ford has faced online intimidation and death threats, and her family relocated from their northern California home, her lawyers said. This harassment, her lawyers said late Tuesday, has made her reluctant to testify Monday about details of a night she has rarely discussed and has said she struggles to remember. While she had initially agreed to testify, her lawyers said she would only do so after an FBI investigation into her allegation, which Republicans have rebuffed, saying nothing new would be learned.
Dr. Ford’s friends describe her as credible and trustworthy; Judge Kavanaugh’s have defended him as respectful and honorable.
Dr. Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, graduated from the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md., not far from the Georgetown Preparatory School Judge Kavanaugh attended. High-school classmates recalled her as a kind and popular cheerleader who played soccer and was on the diving team.
“She was one of the nicest ones,” said Eliza Knable, who was in the same high-school class but not part of the same friend group as Dr. Ford.
Many Holton-Arms students socialized with or dated boys from nearby prep schools, including Judge Kavanaugh’s, said Samantha Semerad Guerry. She was among a group of Holton alumnae from the class of 1984 who signed a letter to lawmakers in support of Dr. Ford.
“One friend said, ‘If she can’t prove it, she doesn’t put pen to paper,’” Ms. Guerry said of Dr. Ford’s allegation. “She’s not an overly sentimental person. She brought logistical reasoning.”
Judge Kavanaugh’s friends are similarly convinced he is an honorable man incapable of the offenses Dr. Ford described.
“In every situation where we were together he was always respectful, kind and thoughtful,” Maura Kane, who dated him in high school, said in a statement. “The accusations leveled against him in no way represent the decent young man I knew.”
None of Dr. Ford’s high school or college friends interviewed for this story remembered her talking about the alleged incident at the party. Betsy Kingsley, a high-school friend, said she recalled a different gathering that both Dr. Ford and Mr. Judge attended during her sophomore year of high school.
Friends said it was clear Dr. Ford remained traumatized decades later. Jim Gensheimer, a friend in Palo Alto, said she confided in him that she needed more than one exit door in her bedroom to prevent her from feeling trapped.
She told some classmates she was concerned that coming forward would diminish her privacy, Ms. Guerry said.
.. In July, Dr. Ford sent a tip to the Post and wrote a letter to her congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.), who encouraged her to reach out to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She wanted to tell her story in confidence “so that lawmakers would have a full understanding of Brett Kavanaugh’s character and history,” Ms. Katz, her attorney, said in a letter to the committee. After reporters caught wind of the letter, Dr. Ford came forward to tell her story on her own terms
.. Friends say Dr. Ford isn’t intensely political. Federal records show that Dr. Ford, a registered Democrat, has made three donations since January 2017 totaling $42 to Act Blue, an online service that provides a one-stop donation platform used by Democrats seeking office.
MCEVERS: Think about it. Donald Trump was getting paid a salary by NBC to have this huge platform where he could promote his businesses, even when some of those businesses weren’t actually doing very well.
PRUITT: The brands, you know, like Taj Mahal – it was enormously difficult to promote that because you walk in there, and you see, you know, neons falling. It was the Ta Mahal or something. You know, there was no J because the neons were out (laughter). They just hadn’t had the opportunity to replace it yet. It wasn’t a priority because the carpets were already rotting, and, you know, it just stank to high heaven. So…
MCEVERS: But you mostly edit that stuff, too.
PRUITT: Well, also, the jet was, you know, questionable whether it would fly that week. The helicopter was up for sale, I believe. We didn’t know if we were going to have it next week.
MCEVERS: Huh. But that’s not the way you made it look…
PRUITT: Not at all.
MCEVERS: …In that opening sequence.
MCEVERS: Oh, my gosh. You created a fiction, a fictional billionaire.
PRUITT: Well, he had been a billionaire. I mean, everything we said about him was truthful. It’s what we didn’t say about him. Do you know what I mean? It was a convenient vacation of the truth.
MCEVERS: At the time of “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump’s companies had already been through four bankruptcies. And there were two more to come, including the Taj Mahal. But Bill Pruitt and the show made him out to be this wildly successful guy having the time of his life, a guy who millions of people started looking up to and even wanted to be like.
This is the thing that Bill Pruitt feels the most guilty about now. In helping make “The Apprentice,” Bill says he was a good con artist. He has the Emmys to prove it from other reality shows. And on “The Apprentice,” his con helped take Donald Trump all the way to the White House.
PRUITT: We told a story. We went with beginnings and middles and ends and villains and protagonists. And we went about the business of putting music and picture and sound together, the things that we thought we wanted to get up in the morning and do with our lives. And now, all of a sudden, we’re here. A cultural icon emerged because we weren’t necessarily truthful about our portrayal.
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