Updated 10:28 p.m. | Lawyers representing Christine Blasey Ford, the alleged victim of a sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh decades ago, are rejecting the idea of an open hearing in less than a week from now.
Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, the lawyers representing Ford, said in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa that plan to hold a hearing on Monday, Sept. 24., was not going to work for their client. A copy of the letter was posted by CNN on Tuesday evening.
“The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is ‘mistaken’ and ‘mixed up,’” the lawyers wrote on Ford’s behalf.
Ford is willing to cooperate with a Judiciary Committee inquiry, and her lawyers are encouraging an FBI review before any sort of hearing might be scheduled, suggesting a similar process to what committee Democrats have called for.
Such a move seemed unlikely given the insistence of Republican members of the panel, as well as the Senate GOP leadership, that Ford’s opportunity to talk would be at Monday’s hearing.
And Grassley effectively reiterated that in a statement following the Ford letter.
“Nobody should be subject to threats and intimidation, and Dr. Ford is no exception. These are serious allegations and Dr. Ford deserves to be heard,” the Republican from Iowa said. “Immediately after learning of Dr. Ford’s identity from news reports Sunday, committee staff started working to gather facts related to her claims. We’ve offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee, as her attorney said yesterday she was willing to do. We offered her a public or a private hearing as well as staff-led interviews, whichever makes her most comfortable. The invitation for Monday still stands.”
Republican aides to the Judiciary Committee said that multiple dates and forums for testimony had been offered, and at no point was Grassley intending for Ford to share the witness table with Kavanaugh.
Senators including Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas have suggested that her opportunity to speak with the Judiciary Committee does not necessarily need to take place in an open setting.
“In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country,” Katz and Banks wrote. “At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats.”
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