Feinstein explains decision to keep letter making claims against Kavanaugh private
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points MORE's (D-Calif.) office on Friday defended the senator's decision not to publicize information regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

A spokesperson for Feinstein said the woman who accused Kavanaugh "did not want this information to be public."

"The senator took these allegations seriously and believed they should be public," the statement read. "However, the woman in question made it clear she did not want this information to be public. It is critical in matters of sexual misconduct to protect the identity of the victim when they wish to remain anonymous, and the senator did so in this case."

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The letter, which reportedly details an incident between Kavanaugh an unknown woman when the two were in high school, was reportedly first given to Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Celebrities rally behind Kavanaugh accuser in video: 'We believe you' Dem describes meeting Kavanaugh accuser in July: 'I told her that I believed her' MORE (D-Calif.). Feinstein has declined to answer questions about the letter's contents, since it came to light on Wednesday. 

Kavanaugh on Friday denied an allegation of sexual misconduct, a day after Senate Democrats said they had referred the incident to the FBI, which confirmed that it received the letter on Thursday. 

A government official on Thursday confirmed that a criminal investigation has not been opened into the matter.

The statement from Feinstein's office comes as the senator faces criticism for her handling of the letter from her progressive challenger, Kevin de León.

De León took aim at Feinstein for not bringing up the allegations sooner.

“The American people deserve to know why the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee waited nearly three months to hand this disqualifying document over to federal authorities,’’ De León said in a statement provided to Politico Friday.

“And why Senator Feinstein politely pantomimed her way through last week’s hearing without a single question about the content of Kavanaugh’s character.”

The allegations against Kavanaugh come less than a week after the Supreme Court pick finished a heated days-long confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.