Ford’s lawyer expresses concern over hiring of ‘sex crimes prosecutor’ for Thursday’s Senate committee hearing
WASHINGTON — The lawyer representing Christine Blasey Ford has sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley expressing concern over the Republican’s hiring of an “experienced sex crimes prosecutor” for Thursday’s hearing.
Both Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday for a public hearing to address Ford’s accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
“This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate,” the letter from Ford’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said. “Neither Dr. Blasey Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh is on trial. The goal should be to develop the relevant facts, not try a case.”
Bromwich also wrote that using outside counsel to perform questioning on the senators’ behalf would go against Ford’s “repeated requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning.”
“The central point is that there is no precedent for this Committee to bring in outside counsel for the sole purpose of shielding the members of the Committee from performing their responsibility to question witnesses,” Bromwich said.
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexual and physical assault while the two were at a party during their high school years.
Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusation.
Ford’s accusations prompted a second woman to come forward with an accusation of inappropriate sexual behavior against Kavanaugh. Deborah Ramirez alleged that while attending a college party during her and Kavanaugh’s time at Yale, he exposed himself to her.
Kavanaugh has also denied that allegation.
Republicans have been determined to keep Kavanaugh’s confirmation process on track in the face of the allegations. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Monday suggested a potential committee vote as early as this week, but deferred an official announcement to Grassley.
“I would defer to the chairman but I don’t think we would do it on Thursday,” Cornyn said. “Friday would be possible, but I’m gonna let him make those announcements.”
Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor on Monday to make forceful remarks in support of Kavanaugh.
“Even by the far left’s standards, this shameful, shameful smear campaign has hit a new low,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “I want to be perfectly clear about what has taken place. Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations.”
Ford’s attorney responded to McConnell’s comments in his letter to Grassley, calling a previous letter from the committee “difficult to reconcile” with McConnell’s Monday speech.
“You said in your letter that you intend to provide a ‘fair and credible process’ that provides Dr. Blasey Ford ‘fair and respectful treatment,'” Bromwich wrote. “Yet earlier today the Majority Leader dismissed Dr. Ford’s experience as a ‘smear campaign,’ claiming mistakenly that the witnesses’ statements to the Committee constitute ‘a complete lack of evidence,’ implying that there has been a thorough investigation. This and statements he has made previously are flatly inconsistent with your letter.”
Bromwich also requested the identity and resume of the outside counsel who has been hired, and asked to meet with her Tuesday.