Ka­vanaugh ac­cuser com­mits to tes­tify

Calgary Herald - - WORLD - Lisa Mas­caro, Mary cLare JaLonick and Jonathan LeMire

WASH­ING­TON • At­tor­neys for Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh’s ac­cuser, Chris­tine Blasey Ford, and the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee have reached agree­ment for a public hear­ing Thurs­day.

Ford com­mit­ted to an “open” hear­ing af­ter ne­go­tia­tors con­vened a call on Sun­day. A spokesman for the com­mit­tee’s chair­man, Sen. Chuck Grass­ley, con­firmed the hear­ing would take place at 10 a.m. Thurs­day.

Ten­sions have been run­ning on over­drive since Ford, now a 51-year-old Cal­i­for­nia col­lege pro­fes­sor, went public with her al­le­ga­tion that Ka­vanaugh as­saulted her at a party in high school. Ka­vanaugh, 53, an ap­pel­late court judge, de­nied the al­le­ga­tion and said he wanted to tes­tify as soon as pos­si­ble to clear his name.

A fi­nal ac­cord could bring to a close days of brinkman­ship that have roiled Wash­ing­ton ahead of mid-term elec­tions and threat­ened to jeop­ar­dize Ka­vanaugh’s con­fir­ma­tion to the court.

Ford agreed that she will tes­tify ahead of Ka­vanaugh, rather than her pref­er­ence to ap­pear af­ter him, ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­iar with the talks. But who will be ask­ing the ques­tions re­mains un­re­solved, the lawyers said.

Repub­li­cans were try­ing to hire an out­side fe­male coun­sel who could take over the ques­tion­ing. The 11 se­na­tors on the GOP side of the dais are all men, which could send an un­wanted mes­sage on live tele­vi­sion against the back­drop of the #MeToo era.

Ear­lier Sun­day, Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, a Repub­li­can on the com­mit­tee, said lawyers for Ford are con­test­ing two GOP con­di­tions — that Ford and Ka­vanaugh will be the only wit­nesses and that an in­de­pen­dent coun­sel will ask the ques­tions.

Gra­ham, speak­ing on Fox News Sun­day, promised a fair hear­ing in which both Ford and Ka­vanaugh “will be chal­lenged” but said “un­less there’s some­thing more” to back up her ac­cu­sa­tion, then he’s “not go­ing to ruin Judge Ka­vanaugh’s life over this.

“I’m be­ing hon­est with you and ev­ery­body else. … What am I sup­posed to do?” Gra­ham asked, ex­plain­ing his dilemma over an al­le­ga­tion of a 1980s in­ci­dent that is past the statute of lim­i­ta­tions for crim­i­nal charges. “But she should come for­ward. She should have her say.”

The lawyers for Ford want the com­mit­tee to hear from other wit­nesses, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the talks said. Ford’s lawyers also want to call on two trauma ex­perts, the source said.

STRINGER / AFP / GETTY IM­AGES

Rel­a­tives at­tend a mass burial ser­vice Sun­day at Ukara Is­land, Tan­za­nia, for vic­tims of Thurs­day’s Lake Vic­to­ria ferry ac­ci­dent. At least 224 pas­sen­gers are con­firmed dead. .

Brett Ka­vanaugh

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