Lawyers for the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were both high school teenagers say she is “committed” to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Lawyers Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich issued the statement Sunday on behalf of Christine Blasey Ford after making what they called “important progress” on a call with Senate Judiciary Committee members.
“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,” the statement said. It noted that she has agreed to move forward despite the committee refusing to invite other witnesses “who are essential for a fair hearing.”
Kavanaugh has denied any sexual impropriety and is also expected to testify before the Republican-led committee votes on his nomination.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News that Ford “will be treated fairly but we’re not going to turn the hearing over to her lawyers.”
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Democratic Senator Patty Murray warned of a “tremendous backlash” if Senate Republicans rush to confirm Kavanaugh without fully probing the accusation against him.
“What a horrible message to young girls today, what a horrible message to young men today that they can get away with this [sexual misconduct]. Let’s get this right,” Murray said.
On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump questioned Ford’s account, posting on Twitter that “if the attack … was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed” with police.
The tweet has prompted an outpouring of testimonials by self-described sexual assault survivors under the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, and a rebuke from a key Republican.
“We know that allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist,” Maine Senator Susan Collins said. “So, I thought that the president’s tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.”
Trump’s U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, asked about the president’s tweet, said “Every accuser deserves the right to be heard. But at the same time, I think the accused deserves the right to be heard.”
The White House continues to stand by Kavanaugh, a federal appellate judge and Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee.
“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a man of integrity with impeccable credentials and a proven judicial philosophy,” Vice President Mike Pence told an annual gathering of social conservatives. “And I believe that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will soon be Justice Brett Kavanaugh and take his seat on the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Democrats praised Ford’s courage and echoed her demand that the FBI investigate the accusation.
“What in the hell did she [Ford] have to gain by doing this? At this point she’s faced death threats, her family has been moved out of their home,” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said on ABC’s This Week. “Dr. Ford has said from the start: let’s have the investigation. Let’s find all the people who might have some knowledge of it. You know, she’s open to the investigation. It’s Judge Kavanaugh, the Department of Justice, and the president who have said no, there will be no investigation.”
Ford alleges that, at a 1982 house party, Kavanaugh, then 17 and “stumbling drunk,” pinned her to a bed and groped her, causing her to fear for her life before she escaped. Kavanaugh has adamantly denied the accusation.
Several people Ford said attended the party have indicated they have no memory of the alleged assault.