Accuser’s lawyer says Monday hearing would be a ‘deal breaker’
Debra Katz, an attorney for the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has told the Senate Judiciary Committee that appearing at a Monday hearing would be a “deal breaker” for her client, according to an email obtained by CNN.
Katz said in the email that she would like to “be clear about our position” on certain issues, and that she also wants to ensure that process will be “dignified” and “not turn into a media circus.”
She said that the only “deal breaker” is that Christine Blasey Ford cannot appear at a hearing Monday morning and would not be able to submit testimony by 10 am on Friday, a deadline set by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley this week. Katz called that a “non-starter.”
“It is simply not possible for her to prepare such testimony while at the same time trying to take appropriate security precautions in the face of the avalanche of threats she has been receiving,” Katz said in the email.
Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were both in high school and claims that he pushed her into a bedroom and then attempted to take off her clothes.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation against him.
The email was sent to judiciary committee lawyers after a call was held on Thursday night between Ford’s attorneys and committee aides to discuss the terms under which Ford is willing to provide testimony to the committee.
Katz also said she asked for clarification on certain issues and was told that staffers would get back to her after talking to Grassley.
These issues include: the procedures for the hearing, including how many rounds of questioning, the scope of the examination and whether the Committee will subpoena Mark Judge, who Ford has said was in the room when the alleged incident took place; whether the Committee will agree that Kavanaugh not be present during Ford’s testimony; and what the committee will do to provide for safety.
She said she “registered strong objection” to having the committee bring in outside counsel to question Ford.
A senior Republican Senate staffer told CNN that following the call Thursday night, the GOP has two “non-starters” for her demands. The first is subpoenaing Judge or other witnesses. The staffer said that the Senate does not take subpoena requests from witnesses. The second “non-starter” is Ford’s demand that Kavanaugh testify first. Ford should testify first to give Kavanaugh the opportunity to respond, the source said.
In a statement on Thursday regarding the call, Grassley communications director Taylor Foy said that the Senate Judiciary Chairman “remains committed to providing a fair forum” for both Ford and Kavanaugh.
“Senators should be the questioners as they have been for all other witnesses who have appeared before the committee in connection with this nomination,” she said.
Judge said in a letter on Tuesday to the committee that he has no memory of the alleged event, and therefore, does “not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford’s letter.”