The woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both teenagers is open to testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of her lawyers said, but not on Monday — and only if the right conditions are met.
According to multiple reports, Debra Katz, an attorney for Christine Lasey Ford, sent a letter on Thursday to judiciary committee staffers asking for the chance to “discuss the conditions under which [Ford] would be prepared to testify next week.” Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a Republican, had set a deadline for 10 .a.m. Friday by which Ford must accept or decline the opportunity to testify on Monday, in public or in private. Katz told the judiciary committee that it’s “not possible” Ford would be able to appear on Capitol Hill Monday.
“As you are aware, she’s been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home,” Katz wrote in the letter. “She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.”
Katz added that Ford, who is a university professor in California, “has asked me to let you know that she appreciates the various options you have suggested. Her strong preference continues to be for the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow for a full investigation prior to her testimony.” Grassley, in a bid to ensure Ford’s security and comfort, had offered to send committee aides to meet her in California and take her testimony.
Earlier Thursday, Republicans were clamoring to go ahead with a vote next week, whether or not Ford testifies on Monday. “If she doesn’t want to participate and tell her story, there’s no reason for us to delay,” Senator John Cornyn of Texas told CNN. “I think it all depends on what she decides to do. We’ve all made clear this is her chance.”
Democrats were steadfast that an FBI investigation should be completed prior to a vote on Kavanaugh’s appointment. “What is happening with the Judiciary Committee, really, I would call it a railroad job,” Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii told reporters on Capitol Hill. “They are totally intent on getting Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court come hell or high water . . . You have to ask yourself why.”
Meanwhile, outside the Senate, tensions flared as protesters voiced their opposition to Kavanaugh ascending to the high court. Also on Thursday, Politico reported that Ricki Seidman, a Democratic operative and former communications director for Joe Biden, was hired by Ford to help prepare her for a possible appearance before the judiciary committee. Watch the video below for more on the story.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.