Kavanaugh Accuser Won't Testify Before Senate, Demands FBI Investigation

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In fast-changing events late Tuesday, lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford — who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when the two were in high school — said she would not accept an invitation to appear before the committee on Monday.

"As the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations," Ford's lawyers wrote in a letter to committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley. "A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions."

“She’s not prepared to talk with them at a hearing on Monday,” said Lisa J. Banks, one of Ford's lawyers. “No legitimate investigation is going to happen between now and Monday.”

The letter, written by Banks and Debra S. Katz, also said Ford and her family have been forced out of their California home by death threats.

"In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country. At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized," her lawyers wrote.

"She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online," the letter continued.

Republicans, meanwhile, do not appear ready to delay the process for weeks and weeks. Grassley had offered Ford time on Monday to testify, but if she chooses not to, Republicans may proceed to a vote.

“Republicans extended a hand in good faith,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who initially said the vote should be delayed in order to hear Ford on Monday. “If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote.”

On the FBI side, the Bureau has already passed Ford's initial letter, given to Sen. Diane Feinstein of California, the committee's ranking Democrat, to the White House and rejected further investigation. While the White House could demand the FBI investigate, that's not its role. Instead, the Bureau gathers information on such high-level nominees and provides it to the Senate and White House.

The two lawyers also erroneously said Ford would be forced to sit at the same table as Kavanaugh. "While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident," Ford's lawyers wrote in their letter.

"The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is 'mistaken' and 'mixed up,'" they added, writing that "no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal."

Committee spokesman Garrett Ventry said the two would not sit "at the same table."

The lawyers' full letter is below:

The Honorable Charles E. Grassley

Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary

United States Senate

135 Hart Senate Office

Building Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Grassley: Thank you for reaching out yesterday afternoon. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford looks forward to working with you and the Committee.

As you know, earlier this summer, Dr. Ford sought to tell her story, in confidence, so that lawmakers would have a fuller understanding of Brett Kavanaugh’s character and history. Only after the details of her experience were leaked did Dr. Ford make the reluctant decision to come forward publicly.

In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country. At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online.

While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident. The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she is “mistaken” and “mixed up.” While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the Committee and with law enforcement officials.

As the Judiciary Committee has recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations. A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.

We would welcome the opportunity to talk with you and Ranking Member Feinstein to discuss reasonable steps as to how Dr. Ford can cooperate while also taking care of her own health and security.

Sincerely,

Debra S. Katz

Lisa J. Banks

Attorneys for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

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