Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit in 2013. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Three former Brett Kavanaugh clerks, who previously backed their former boss’ nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, told Senate Judiciary committee lawmakers Monday they’re “deeply troubled” by the accusations against Kavanaugh.

In a letter to committee chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking chair Dianne Feinstein, they also indicated they welcome the FBI’s inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Kavanaugh, and said they hope the investigation will be independent and thorough.

The lawyers—Will Dreher, Bridget Fahey and Rakim Brooks—said they wrote to “clarify” their views after members of the judiciary panel promoted their earlier comments over the weekend. The Monday letter, seen by The National Law Journal and first reported by the Huffington Post, qualifies their earlier remarks.

“Over the weekend, the committee publicized quotations from those letters, creating the impression that they were responsive to the serious allegations raised in the last several weeks,” the former Kavanaugh clerks said Monday.

“We write to clarify that, like many Americans, we have been deeply troubled by those allegations and the events surrounding them and were encouraged by the initiation of a formal FBI investigation, which we believe is warranted. We hope, for the good of everyone involved, that this investigation will be independent and thorough,” they wrote.

The FBI reopened its background investigation into Kavanaugh last week, and has interviewed individuals who have been named as possible witnesses in the sexual misconduct claims against the nominee. Kavanaugh has denied accusations of sexual misconduct.

Dreher clerked for Kavanaugh—a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit— during the 2013-2014 term. Dreher later clerked for Justice Elena Kagan, and is an associate at Jenner & Block working in its energy, and appellate and Supreme Court practice groups.

Fahey, a former Sonia Sotomayor clerk and now a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania law school, worked for Kavanaugh during the 2014-2015 term. Brooks, a fellow at New York-based civil rights firm Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, joined Kavanaugh during the 2017-2018 term.

It is rare for former clerks of federal judges to take public stances that oppose their former bosses’ interests, Dan Epps, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis’ law school, noted.

“For people who aren’t part of the elite legal world, it’s hard to understand just how rare it is for former clerks to speak out against the interests of their former boss, in even the slightest way. The professional incentives all run strongly against it,” Epps, a former clerk for J. Harvie Wilkinson III in the Fourth Circuit and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, tweeted.

Read a copy of the letter:

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