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Kavanaugh says he did not realize Parkland victim's father was approaching him

Updated 9:14 PM ET, Wed September 12, 2018

Washington (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he would have shaken hands and spoken with the father of a Parkland school shooting victim last week had he realized who he was.

In written responses to questions from Senate Judiciary Committee members obtained by CNN, Kavanaugh described what happened from his vantage point when Fred Guttenberg approached him at the hearing.

Kavanaugh said Guttenberg approached him "from behind and touched my arm." He said he didn't recognize him and "assumed he was a protestor." A "split second" later, security intervened, said Kavanaugh. Had he known, he would have expressed his sympathy and listened to Guttenberg, Kavanaugh wrote in response to a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who's the committee's chairman.

"In that split second, I unfortunately did not realize that the man was the father of a shooting victim from Parkland, Florida. Mr. Guttenberg has suffered an incalculable loss. If I had known who he was, I would have shaken his hand, talked to him, and expressed my sympathy. And I would have listened to him," he added.

Kavanaugh also said that neither he nor anyone on his behalf had asked for the Capitol Police to remove Guttenberg from the hearing.

"No one acted at my request," Kavanaugh wrote, responding to a question from Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal. "If someone purported to act on my behalf, they did so without my knowledge and contrary to my wishes."

Guttenberg's daughter, Jaime, was 14 when she died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February.


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