Brett Kavanaugh accuser offers to testify to Senate

Arturo Kim
September 22, 2018

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees Supreme Court nominations, is due to meet next Monday and has invited Ms Ford and Mr Kavanaugh to testify.

Friday, Chairman Grassley set a series of deadlines for Christine Blasey Ford to decide whether or not she meant to testify next week.

"Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony", Grassley tweeted. "I sincerely hope that Dr Ford will accept my invitation to do so, either privately or publicly, on Monday". "It's not my normal approach" to be "indecisive", Grassley tweeted.

On Friday, Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, requested another day to decide and said the "sole purpose" of Grassley's deadline is "to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family".

He speculated Friday on Twitter that if the attack "was as bad as she says" she or her parents would immediately have filed charges. It was also the latest provocation - from a man who has faced a litany of sexual misconduct allegations himself - of moderate female voters whose support Republicans will need to fend off a robust Democratic drive to capture congressional control in November's elections.

Earlier Friday, their legal tango riveted Washington, as the two sides tried to work out details such as how many photographers and television cameras would be in the room (Blasey, fearful of being mobbed by the news media, wanted one of each), who would ask the questions (Republicans wanted an outside lawyer; Blasey favored senators) and what day the session would take place (Blasey asked for Thursday; Republicans wanted Wednesday).

A combination photo of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The new demand comes after nearly a full business week since first being offered the opportunity to testify in any one of a number of ways, including in open committee and behind closed doors, as to her allegation that Kavanaugh and another teenager attacked and groped her at a high school party more than 35 years ago.

In addition to security, expected to be provided by Capitol Police, Ford has asked for press coverage of her testimony to be the same as for Kavanaugh.

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Ford, through her lawyer, has repeatedly made clear throughout the week that she was not ready to appear before the panel, citing "death threats" made against her and calling for a full FBI investigation into her accusations.

Collins, a swing vote on the nomination, spoke at events in Portland, Maine, and later in New Hampshire.

"We are happy that Dr Ford's attorneys are now engaging with the Committee", his spokesperson told USA media. "So I thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong".

In New Hampshire, Collins said she has assembled a team of 19 attorneys to help her understand Kavanaugh's record and was about 95 percent finished with her analysis when she spoke to him by phone September 14, after the allegations against him became known but before Ford came forward publicly.

Ford accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a house part in the early 1980s, when they were both high school students in suburban Maryland.

The party has agreed to limiting the hearing to one camera as requested by Ford and to not having Kavanaugh in the same room as her, the senator said.

According to Trump, the fact that Ford remained silent until now shows the incident probably never happened - even if this runs counter to what experts say is the typical reaction of sexual assault victims afraid or embarrassed to report. Lawyer Debra Katz said the time limit's "sole objective is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family".

The president's tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party. "Let her tell her story, under oath, here in Washington".

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