Ka­vanaugh ac­cuser says she will testify

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Se­ung Min Kim, Sean Sul­li­van and Emma Brown

Lawyers for Chris­tine Blasey Ford ac­cept Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee’s of­fer to air her sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tion.

Lawyers WASH­ING­TON — for Chris­tine Blasey Ford, the woman who has ac­cused Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her when they were teenagers, said Satur­day that she has ac­cepted the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee’s re­quest to testify about her al­le­ga­tion next week.

In an email sent to the com­mit­tee at 2:17 p.m. Satur­day, at­tor­neys De­bra Katz and Lisa Banks asked staff for Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles Grass­ley, R-Iowa, to set up a phone con­ver­sa­tion later Satur­day to work out specifics.

“Dr. Ford ac­cepts the Com­mit­tee’s re­quest to pro­vide her first-hand knowl­edge of Brett Ka­vanaugh’s sex­ual mis­con­duct next week,” the lawyers wrote to the com­mit­tee. “Although many as­pects of the pro­posal you pro­vided via email, on (Fri­day) are fun­da­men­tally in­con­sis­tent with the Com­mit­tee’s prom­ise of a fair, im­par­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her al­le­ga­tions, and we are dis­ap­pointed with the leaks and the bul­ly­ing that have tainted the process, we are hope­ful that we can reach agree­ment on de­tails.”

The email doesn’t specif­i­cally say whether Ford has agreed to ap­pear on Wed­nes­day, but that was the most re­cent of­fer that Grass­ley had made to her at­tor­neys. Aides to Grass­ley did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

If a fi­nal agree­ment on the de­tails of the hear­ing is reached, that would set the stage for a dra­matic, sear­ing con­fronta­tion next week. Ka­vanaugh has cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied Ford’s al­le­ga­tion and says he wants to testify be­fore the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee about the mat­ter, and the com­mit­tee and Ford’s lawyers had been em­broiled in con­tentious ne­go­ti­a­tions over the con­di­tions of her tes­ti­mony un­til Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Repub­li­cans said they would ac­com­mo­date sev­eral of Ford’s re­quests, in­clud­ing en­sur­ing that she had ad­e­quate se­cu­rity at the Capi­tol and that Ka­vanaugh would not be in the room when she speaks. But the GOP also de­clined her other asks, in­clud­ing that Ka­vanaugh testify first and that the com­mit­tee sub­poena Mark Judge, a Ka­vanaugh friend who Ford says was pre­sent dur­ing the al­leged in­ci­dent and call other po­ten­tial wit­nesses to the hear­ing.

The Repub­li­can-led com­mit­tee had also of­fered a Wed­nes­day hear­ing, rather than Thurs­day as Ford had asked for, and they wanted to re­serve the op­tion of hav­ing fe­male staff at­tor­neys on the com­mit­tee do the ques­tion­ing, even while Ford said she would rather be ques­tioned by sen­a­tors.

As the back-and-forth con­tin­ued late Fri­day and into Satur­day, Repub­li­can sen­a­tors on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee be­gan to grow weary of the ex­tended talks. Grass­ley lamented in a tweet late Fri­day night that with all the dead­line ex­ten­sions, he felt like he was play­ing “2nd trom­bone in the ju­di­ciary orches­tra” and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was the con­duc­tor.

Repub­li­can sen­a­tors had just about reached the lim­its of their pa­tience by Satur­day, ac­cord­ing to one, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to can­didly de­scribe the mood. Se­nate GOP lead­ers have ar­gued that they have been very ac­com­mo­dat­ing to Ford’s re­quests, while Democrats say Repub­li­cans have bul­lied Ford with un­rea­son­able dead­lines.

Mean­while, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence joined the cho­rus of re­newed Repub­li­can sup­port for Ka­vanaugh on Satur­day, telling a crowd of around 2,000 con­ser­va­tive ac­tivists at the Val­ues Vot­ers Sum­mit that Ka­vanaugh “is a man of in­tegrity, with im­pec­ca­ble cre­den­tials and a proven ju­di­cial phi­los­o­phy” and that he would soon be con­firmed.

Pence then took aim at the con­duct of Demo­cratic sen­a­tors dur­ing the con­fir­ma­tion process, de­scrib­ing it as “a dis­grace and a dis­ser­vice to the Se­nate and the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

And a tem­po­rary com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser to Grass­ley dur­ing the Supreme Court con­fir­ma­tion fight has abruptly re­signed af­ter an ac­cu­sa­tion of sex­ual ha­rass­ment — an al­le­ga­tion he de­nies.

Gar­rett Ven­try sub­mit­ted his res­ig­na­tion Fri­day night, he said in a brief phone in­ter­view Satur­day morn­ing. He said he de­nies the al­le­ga­tion but stepped down “in or­der to not be a dis­trac­tion” as Se­nate Repub­li­cans con­tinue to work to get Ka­vanaugh con­firmed.

MARK WIL­SON / GETTY IMAGES

Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh has stren­u­ously de­nied al­le­ga­tions by Chris­tine Blasey Ford that he sex­u­ally as­saulted her at a drunken party while both were teenagers in high school.

Chris­tine Blasey Ford

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