Testimony by Trump court nominee's accuser set; new allegation surfaces

Frederick Owens
September 24, 2018

Blasey Ford's story is by now familiar to anyone who's tuned in to a US news channel in the past week: she alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh steered her into a bedroom and tried to undress her during a gathering of teens in suburban Maryland in the 1980s. Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was in the room when the incident occurred.

"I am writing to request an immediate postponement of any further proceedings related to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh", she said in a statement.

Ford's lawyers say the committee has not indicated when they will respond, but said the remaining "procedural and logistical issues" will "not impede the hearing taking place".

"This is a smear, plain and simple", Kavanaugh said. A White House spokeswoman added in a second statement that the allegation was "designed to tear down a good man". On the same day that President George W. Bush received this request, White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray directed the FBI to investigate.

Even before the latest turns, the carefully negotiated hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee with Kavanaugh and Ford carried echoes of the Anita Hill hearings in 1991.

She told the magazine that she pushed the person away.

"Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her", her attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich said in a statement.

"Dr. Ford will tell her story in the face of an impossible choice and vile bullying by Republican leadership", said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a Judiciary Committee member. After days of relative restraint, Trump lashed out at Ford on Friday, contending that Ford's decision to wait before going public shows the incident probably was not "as bad as she says" - even if this runs counter to what experts say is the typical reaction of sexual assault victims afraid or embarrassed to report.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of sexual assault.

The magazine said it had not confirmed with other witnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party at issue in Ramirez' account.

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But unresolved is who would question the 51-year-old California college professor and other potential witnesses.

Kavanaugh has also agreed to testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing planned for 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee said they would investigate Ramirez's accusation.

Ford's lawyers also asked the committee to subpoena other witnesses. In addition to sidelining Ford's request for anonymity, Feinstein's delay was also unfair to Kavanaugh, the committee staff wrote. Views on this are starkly partisan: 82 percent of Democrats support on an FBI investigation, while 87 percent of Republicans do not.

"She went privately to discuss her concerns, but then understood that she would be outed", said Dobson-Hughes.

Grassley's counsel said in a note to Ford's lawyers that "the Chairman asked me to relay again that he will do everything in his power to provide a safe, comfortable and dignified forum for Dr. Ford to testify".

At stake is not only the fate of Trump's hand-picked Supreme Court nominee, but also Republican chances in November's midterm elections that face increased risk if the polarizing confirmation battle drags on.

Trump mused to confidants that the "fake" attacks against his nominee were meant to undermine his presidency, according to a White House official and a Republican close to the White House.

We are deeply troubled regarding the misleading statements you have made this week about the Kavanaugh nomination.

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