US Politics

‘He was trying to attack me’: Christine Blasey Ford accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s

According to her lawyer, she is willing to do ‘whatever it takes’, including testifying publicly, to get her story out

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 4:13am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 September, 2018, 10:36pm

The woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her is willing to tell her story to a Senate panel considering his nomination to the Supreme Court, her lawyer said on Monday.

Kavanaugh appeared on a smooth confirmation track, but the allegations have roiled that process. Christine Blasey Ford claims a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, said her client considered the incident to be attempted rape.

“She believes that if were not for the severe intoxication of Brett Kavanaugh, she would have been raped,” Katz told NBC’s Today. “She is willing to do whatever it takes to get her story forth.”

Kavanaugh said on Monday that the accusation of sexual misconduct against him was “completely false” and the incident “never happened”.

“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes – to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a statement distributed by the White House. “I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation from 36 years ago and defend my integrity.”

Earlier, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway said Ford “should testify under oath … on Capitol Hill” and she should “not be ignored or insulted”.

Conway said Kavanaugh should also testify to the allegations, noting he has already provided testimony and has undergone FBI background checks.

Katz said her client was willing to tell her story in public, although no lawmakers had contacted her yet. Katz also denied that Ford, a Democrat, is politically motivated.

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“No one in their right mind regardless of their motives would want to inject themselves into this process and face the kind of violation that she will be subjected to by those who want this nominee to go though … She was quite reluctant to come forward.”

Initially the sexual misconduct allegation was conveyed in a letter, without revealing Ford’s name. The accusation raised the prospect of congressional Republicans defending President Donald Trump’s nominee before midterm elections featuring an unprecedented number of female candidates.

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The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee appeared committed to a vote later this week despite Ford’s account in The Washington Post.

Ford told the paper that Kavanaugh and a friend – both “stumbling drunk, she says – corralled her into a bedroom during the party in the early 1980s.

She says Kavanaugh groped her over her clothes, grinded his body against hers and tried to take off her one-piece swimsuit and the outfit she wore over it.

Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream, she says.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” says Ford, 51, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

She says she was able to get away after Kavanaugh’s friend jumped on top of them and everyone tumbled.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation. He repeated that denial again on Sunday through the White House.

“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh said.

The Washington Post reported that Ford took a polygraph test in August that concluded “Ford was being truthful when she said a statement summarising her allegations was accurate.”

In late July, Ford sent a letter through Democrat Ann Eshoo’s office to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, about the reported attack.

Feinstein said the FBI should investigate now that Ford has spoken to the newspaper and the investigation should be finished before the Senate moves ahead with Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Senate’s Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the vote should be postponed until what he calls “serious and credible allegations” are thoroughly investigated.

The spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, Taylor Foy, issued a lengthy statement vouching for Kavanaugh’s integrity and saying it was “disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July”.

Ford says in the interview that she never revealed what had happened to her until 2012, when she and her husband sought couples therapy.

Portions of her therapist’s notes, which Ford provided to the Post, do not mention Kavanaugh by name but say Ford reported being attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington”.

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Kavanaugh, 53, is a federal appeals judge in Washington. US President Donald Trump nominated him in July to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

Ford had contacted the Post through a tip line in early July after it had become clear that Kavanaugh was on Trump’s shortlist to fill a vacancy but before the Republican president nominated him.

Ford told the Post she decided to come forward after watching portions of her story come out without her permission. She said if anyone was going to tell her story, she wanted it to be her.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse and Reuters