Under right terms, Kavanaugh accuser may testify after all

Evarado Alatorre
Setiembre 21, 2018

In the call, she said Ford needs time to secure her family, prepare her testimony and travel to Washington.

Ford was 15 years old at the time she alleges Kavanaugh attacked her.

President Donald Trump wondered on Twitter Friday morning why Christine Blasey Ford didn't go to local law enforcement after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly forced himself on her back in high school.

Judge Kavanaugh has issued a fresh rebuttal of the allegation. Blasey Ford's lawyers told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she wanted the FBI to conduct an investigation before she would appear before the Senate, a move Trump had already deemed "not" the FBI's "thing."

Ford has said she wants the FBI to investigate her claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s.

In a call between Ford's attorneys and the Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's staff Thursday night to discuss terms for a potential hearing, a source familiar with the conversations tells ABC News Ford's attorney requested that she be allowed to testify first and that Kavanaugh not be present in the room at the time. The only relevance of this alleged incident is to a Senate function, so it is for the Senate committee to decide how to proceed. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation and pledged to testify at Monday's hearing.

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The discussion revived the possibility that the panel would hold an electrifying campaign-season hearing at which both Ford and President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee could give their versions of what did or didn't happen at a party in the 1980s. They also mentioned having only one camera in the room, and said Ford is opposed to being questioned by outside counsel. That is according to a Senate aide who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

If Ford opts not to participate, Republicans could well dispense with the hearing to avoid giving Democrats a forum for peppering Kavanaugh with embarrassing questions. Grassley has allowed Judge to testify unofficially, through the letter written by his attorney and released to the public.

Rather than attend parties, Ford disappeared. On Wednesday, Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, said Grassley's assertions that committee Republicans had done everything to contact Ford's legal team was "bull--".

Lawyer Debra Katz writes that Ford's "strong preference" remains a full investigation before she testifies. The FBI has said it is not investigating, a decision backed by Republicans who have accused Democrats of trying to delay the confirmation process.

According to the Washington Post, Ford, who had also contacted the newspaper in July, chose to go public after it became clear people were learning her identity. Kavanaugh and his wife also had received threats, a senior White House official said. Trump refrained from tweeting about his nominee. Sherlock Whelan described this man as a "good friend" of Judge's, produced side-by-side photos of Kavanaugh and the man, and said people "have commented on how much they resembled each other in appearance".

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