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Brett Kavanaugh's Investigative Documentary 'Justice' Debuts at Sundance - Deadline

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Director Doug Liman says his self-funded documentary about Brett Kavanaugh Justicewhich premiered at Sundance on Friday night, may be far from over as new hints began to surface half an hour after the highly secret project was announced on Thursday.

“I thought the movie was over… I thought I was out of the woods. I’m at Sundance, I thought, I can sell the movie,” Liman said ruefully in a question-and-answer session after the world premiere of his first documentary, which re-examines sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh raised during his confirmation hearings in 2018. The film follows tips that the FBI apparently ignored in an investigation launched after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were both high school students in Maryland.

Justice gives wide attention to the allegations of another woman, Deborah Ramirez, who also came forward among the hearings to say that in 1983, a drunk Kavanaugh, then a freshman at Yale University, had exposed himself to her at a gathering of several young people in campus.

A still image of 'Justice' directed by Doug Liman

‘Justice’

History Syndicate

CAA is handling sales of what immediately became the hottest takeover title at the first in-person Sundance since 2020. Justice opened to a sold-out theater to an enthusiastic response. The documentary was kept under wraps and was only announced as part of the schedule at the opening press conference the day before.

Perhaps the film’s most explosive revelation is the FBI’s failure to follow up on a tip from Max Stier, a fellow student at Yale during Ramirez and Kavanaugh’s time at the school, who said he was told about an alleged similar incident involving Kavanaugh if exposing. to another student. The film includes a taped statement by Stier, one of 4,500 tips to an FBI hotline that was set up after Ramirez and Blasey Ford came forward.

Liman said that the filmmakers have yet to receive a reaction, but that he felt that the filmmakers and those interviewed in the film were at risk of retaliation while Justice was being made, hence the need for extreme secrecy that extended to asking everyone involved in the film to sign NDAs.

“The machinery that is put in place against anyone who speaks out … we knew the machinery would be turned against us,” Liman said. “The film would not have been shown at Sundance, there would have been an injunction” if the news had leaked ahead of time.

Producer Amy Herdy, also on Q&A, investigated other prominent figures accused of sexual misconduct, including Woody Allen in the 2021 documentary series Allen v. farrowand music industry mogul Russell Simmons in the 2020 doc on record. Academy Award winner Dan Cogan and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus executive produced the film, along with Liman. Cogan and Garbus’ production company, Story Syndicate, produced the film.

Herdy said he hoped the film would “spark outrage and a subpoena-powered investigation.”

Blasey Ford appears briefly in the first few minutes of the film. Excerpts from her dramatic testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee serve to tell her story. Liman said he didn’t include a new on-camera interview with Blasey Ford because “she was part of it. She has more than done her part for this country. She has already done enough for 10 lifetimes.”

In a statement released after the festival announced the premiere of the documentary, Liman said, “It shouldn’t be so difficult to have an open and honest conversation about whether or not a Supreme Court justice assaulted multiple women as a young man. Thanks to this fantastic research team and the brave souls who trusted us with their stories, Justice begins where the FBI’s investigation of Brett Kavanaugh failed. The film examines our court process and the institutions behind it, highlighting bureaucratic mistakes and political power grabs that continue to have an outsized impact on our nation today.”

President Trump appointed Kavanaugh in July 2018 to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted Kavanaugh’s initial confirmation hearings from September 4 to 7. On September 16, the Washington Post ran a bombshell story that Blasey Ford had accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982, when they were both teenagers in Bethesda, Maryland.

In an excerpt from FBI Director Christopher Wray’s congressional testimony, which is seen in the film, the G-man admits that tips that had come out about Kavanaugh were shared with the Trump White House. The film ends with Vice President Mike Pence announcing the 50-48 Senate vote that confirmed Kavanaugh’s lifetime nomination to the Supreme Court.

The document notes that Kavanaugh declined to comment with the filmmakers. He had previously categorically denied all allegations.

Among Kavanaugh’s most important decisions since joining the court is his vote last year to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. He was joined in the 6-3 decision by other conservatives, including Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed in court in 2020.

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