Kavanaugh allegations thrust Ford's friend, Monica McLean, into spotlight: What to know

Monica McLean, a friend of Christine Blasey Ford, has popped up periodically throughout the investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Ford publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while at a social gathering sometime in the early 1980s. She testified before lawmakers that Kavanaugh held her down, attempted to remove her clothes and prevented her from screaming. Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the accusations.

In her testimony, Ford identified others she said might be able to corroborate her story. One friend, Leland Ingham Keyser, has said she doesn’t remember the alleged incident, although she supports and believes Ford.

McLean, a retired FBI agent, has been accused of pressuring Keyser into changing her initial statement to reaffirm her support for Ford. Through an attorney, McLean has denied allegations she tried to influence anyone.

Read on for a look at how McLean is connected to Ford and the Kavanaugh investigation.

McLean went to school with Ford

McLean was one of more than a dozen Holton-Arms class of 1984 women who signed a letter of support for Ford.

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“We stand with our friend Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and admire her honesty and resolve on behalf of our nation,” the women said.

She’s a former FBI agent

McLean is a retired FBI agent, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A former boyfriend of Ford’s alleged the California psychology professor helped McLean prepare for polygraph tests when she was interviewing for jobs with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office – directly in contradiction to what Ford told lawmakers under oath.

“I witnessed Dr. Ford help McLean prepare for a potential polygraph exam,” the boyfriend said, adding, “Dr. Ford explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. Dr. Ford was able to help because of her background in psychology.”

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McLean has denied the allegation that anyone – including Ford – has ever helped her prepare for a polygraph test.

Ford had testified before the Senate that she had never helped anyone with a polygraph test in the past. She had taken one to corroborate her story.

She’s accused of pressuring a potential witness

Leland Ingham Keyser was one of a handful of people Ford said was at the 1982 gathering when the alleged sexual assault occurred. In a statement to lawmakers, Keyser said she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present.” She subsequently stressed she believes Ford anyway.

Keyser told FBI investigators McLean pressured her to change her statement, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Any notion or claim that Ms. McLean pressured Leland Keyser to alter Ms. Keyser’s account of what she recalled concerning the alleged incident between Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely false,” McLean’s attorney, David Laufman, said in a statement.

During the Senate hearing, Ford said she wasn’t surprised Keyser could not remember the alleged incident, citing her “significant health challenges.” She said she was “happy that [Keyser’s] focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs.”