Fairfield attorney’s texts shed light on Kavanaugh case
FAIRFIELD — A new face on the town’s political scene has found herself thrust onto the national stage, claiming to have incriminating texts regarding Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Kerry Berchem was a classmate at Yale of both Kavanaugh and Deborah Ramirez, who has since accused the federal judge of sexually assaulting her at a college party during the academic year of 1983-84.
Berchem, 51, has been attempting to contact the FBI to turn over text messages that suggest Kavanaugh, contrary to his testimony before U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee, knew about the allegations prior to their publication in The New Yorker on Sept. 23.
The text messages, obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media, suggest Kavanaugh and his team were personally talking with former classmates about the allegations in advance of the story’s publication. Ramirez has accused the federal judge of waving his penis in her face during a college party. A mutual friend told Berchem that Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense.
On Sept. 22, prior to the New Yorker publishing a story on the alleged assault, an unidentified female texted Berchem saying she had to send information to “Brett’s team.” The photograph to be sent, according to the texts, was also likely to be sent to the New York Times and Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker.
A text sent Sept. 23, the same day the New Yorker story was posted but prior to its release, the unidentified female said she had received a call from “Brett’s guy.”
A short while later, as rumors percolated that the New Yorker story was imminent, the unidentified female told Berchem, “Brett asked me to go on the record and now New Yorker are not answering phones!”
When reached for comment by Hearst Connecticut Media on Tuesday, Berchem said she was unable to go on the record or comment on the memo she sent to the FBI.
According to sources, the FBI has not yet contacted Berchem.
With the assistance of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office, Berchem submitted her summary to the FBI. Blumenthal sits on the Judiciary Committee, and a spokesman said the summary had been submitted to the committee early Friday. When it became clear the committee did not intend to forward the summary to the FBI, Blumenthal’s office lent a hand.
An elected member of the Fairfield Representative Town Meeting since 2017, Berchem represents the Fairfield University area as the lone Democrat in the four-member District 8. She is a partner with the corporate law firm of Akin Gump.
“We have a group of outspoken, smart women in our caucus who are supportive of the #MeToo movement,” said fellow RTM member Heather Dean, D-3, who isn’t surprised by the news of Berchem’s involvement. “I’m very glad Rep. Berchem is reaching out to the FBI and I hope they respond and hear her version of events, as well as her impression of Kavanaugh’s character.”
First Selectman Mike Tetreau said he didn’t know Berchem before she ran for the RTM.
“I’ve been very impressed with her leadership and her willingness to stand up for different positions, regardless of how unpopular they were,” he said. “She’s appeared to me to be the consummate professional and very fact-based in how she looks at things.”
Tetreau said Berchem was part of Fairfield’s “blue wave” in 2017, that saw more women getting involved in politics and led to Democrats taking the majority on the RTM.
“Kerry is a well-respected leader in our community,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Steven Sheinberg said. “I know her to be nothing but honest and highly principled.”
In her biography posted when she ran for the RTM, she says she is a mother of three with “lifelong roots to Fairfield.”
• M&A and governance lawyer with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Partner
• Management Committee Member, Chair of Corporate Practice, Founding Member & Chair of Audit Committee
• Awards: NY Law Journal’s “Top Women in Law” 2016; Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching” 2014; and Chambers USA: Leading Lawyers, Corporate M&A 2006-2017
• Community Service: Operation Hope volunteer; Winton Park Board of Managers 2006-2011; Founding Member of National Charity League, Fairfield Chapter
• B.A. History, Yale University and J.D. Tulane Law School, Cum Laude
• Married mother of three children
• Lifelong ties to Fairfield
Information provided by the Fairfield Democrats.