A California professor who claims a “stumbling drunk” Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school would testify publicly if asked by Senate Judiciary Committee leaders, her attorney said Monday.
Christine Blasey Ford, 51, says she instantly thought Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her during a party in the early 1980s after he and a friend corralled her in a bedroom and the Supreme Court nominee pinned her to a bed and groped her over a one-piece bathing suit. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
Attorney Debra Katz says Ford would testify in a public hearing, but has yet to hear from the Judiciary Committee. That decision would be made by Chairman Charles E. Grassley. On Sunday, after the Washington Post published an article with Ford’s first public description of the alleged incident, Grassley questioned how Democratic members handled a confidential letter from Katz detailing her side of the story but also said he would gather more information.
Ford is a “credible person” and her charges should be treated seriously by senators, Katz said.
The accuser initially did not want to talk publicly about the allegations because she viewed Kavanaugh’s nomination as extremely “politicized” and because she feared doing so would put herself and her family at risk, Katz said. To that end, since the Post article published, Ford has received “hostile threats” and “recrimination.”
Her intent in sending the confidential letter to members of California’s congressional delegation, including Judiciary ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, was to provide information about Kavanaugh’s character. Feinstein did not ask the nominee about the letter or its allegations during her 50 minutes of alloted time to question him during a confirmation hearing earlier this month.
But after existence of the letter surfaced in media reports, then subsequent articles detailed the charges, “that decision was taken from her,” Katz told CNN.
The Trump White House on Monday again signaled President Donald Trump is standing by the embattled Supreme Court nominee.
“On Friday, Judge Kavanaugh ‘categorically and unequivocally’ denied this allegation. This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement,” White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Monday morning in a statement.
The president, who also has been accused of sexual misconduct, has yet to publicly respond to Ford’s allegations. He spent the early hours of Monday morning re-tweeting government warnings and information about Hurricane Florence – and threatening to slap new tariffs on other countries.
Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable. If countries will not make fair deals with us, they will be “Tariffed!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2018
Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Monday that “this woman should not be ignored and should not be insulted – she should be heard.”
Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, a Judiciary member, called for a Thursday committee vote on the nomination to be delayed. Asked if a public hearing would be best, Durbin told CNN that appears the “only” practical option.
Watch: Judiciary Democrats Object to Kavanaugh Vote Plan, But Date is Set