Kavanaugh’s accuser, Senate committee tussle over hearing date

Judge Brett Kavanaugh. File photo: Wikipedia/U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Sept. 21 (UPI) — The Senate judiciary committee gave a counteroffer to Christine Blasey Ford’s request to attend a hearing Thursday, instead saying she must testify Wednesday on her accusation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago.
A Republican senator on the committee told NBC News and Politico that the panel would be amenable to some of Ford’s requests, but not the date.

“We’ll do it on Wednesday, we expect the accuser before the accused and we do intend to have the counsel do the questioning,” the senator told Politico.

Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, said Thursday that it was “not possible” for her to attend a Monday hearing the committee originally scheduled. But Katz said Ford could attend Thursday under certain conditions, which she detailed in an email obtained by CBS News.

“She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” Katz said in a letterto top senators Friday.

“[I]t is simply not possible for her to prepare such testimony while at the same time trying to take appropriate security precautions in the face of the avalanche of threats she has been receiving,” Katz explained in the email.

Katz added that Ford needs time to “settle things with her family,” travel and prepare to testify.

Among the conditions for her to testify, Ford requested that outside counsel not ask her any questions, only senators. Furthermore, she said that Mark Judge, who Ford said was in the room when she was allegedly assaulted, be subpoenaed.

Kavanaugh must testify first, then Ford, allowing Kavanaugh no time to respond to her allegations, Katz continued. Adequate security must be provided. Only one pool camera must be in the hearing room. And Ford and Kavanaugh must be allotted the same amount of time to testify.

Senate judiciary committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has not yet given a public response to conditions set by Ford’s attorneys, but a response is expected sometime later Friday.

Grassley previously declined Ford’s request to have the FBI investigate her allegation.

Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a party when they were both high school students in the 1980s in Maryland.

Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Ford said she also mentioned the ordeal in a therapy session back in 2012, and had written a confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstien, D-Calif, in July detailing how Kavanaugh allegedly held her down, groped her and attempted to pull off her clothes. The incident didn’t come to light publicly until The Intercept reported on Sept. 12 about Democrats’ pressure for her to share the letter.

President Donald Trump, who said he feels bad for Kavanaugh, questioned Ford’s credibility in a tweet Friday.

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents, Trump tweeted. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

Actor Alyssa Milano, a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, started a new trending hashtag Friday in response to Trump’s tweet — #WhyIDidntReport.

“I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell me parents,” she tweeted. “If any survivor of sexual assault would like to add to this please do so in the replies.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, accused Democrats of “hijacking” the process, “to accommodate political interests.”

Democratic senators, on the other hand, said Ford deserves an impartial investigation and protection.

“She is being threatened, death threats, etc,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D- Hawaii. “This is called, I would say, intimidation of a witness.”

On Thursday, demonstrators protested on Capitol Hill, and shouted “we believe Dr. Blasey,” and 56 were arrested by the end of the day for “unlawful demonstration activities,” Capitol Hill spokesperson Eva Malecki said.


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