Dr. Christine Blasey Ford offered compelling testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegation that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were in high school in Maryland in the bedroom of a house party in the early 1980s.
Ford said she feared Kavanaugh “was accidentally going to kill” her after, she said, Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand while on top of her to stifle her screams for help.
Ford testified to the committee that she would never forget “the uproarious laughter” that emanated during the alleged attack from both Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge, who Ford said was in the room at the time. Ford described Judge as variously egging Kavanaugh on; jumping on top of them several times, and at others, telling Kavanaugh to stop the alleged assault.
Ford emphasized she was “100 percent” certain Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her, and that she was coming forward with her story not for political reasons, but instead to fully inform the public about the character of the Supreme Court nominee.
“I am no one’s pawn,” Ford testified. “My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed. It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr. Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court. My responsibility is to tell the truth.”
Ford added that six to eight weeks after the alleged attack, she saw Mark Judge while at a Potomac Village Safeway with her mother. Ford described Judge as looking stricken, saying “his face was white” and he appeared “very uncomfortable” after she said hello to him.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) contended that Judge “should be subpoenaed from his Bethany Beach hideaway and required to testify under oath, but he has not.”
When GOP-hired interlocutor and Maricopa County, Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell asked whether there might be any other incidents that could have led to the anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from which Ford says she suffers, besides from the alleged attack, Ford answered: “Nothing as striking as that event.”
Mitchell appeared to some to show GOP-linked partisan colors in what seemed an attempt to chip away at Ford’s credibility by calling into question Ford’s stated fear of flying as an initial reason for her not wanting to testify in person to the committee at the Capitol, regarding allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.
Mitchell pointed out Ford had traveled frequently for both work and pleasure, despite her stated anxiety about air travel.
Mitchell also seemed to pursue a line of questioning that called into question the objectivity of a polygraph Ford took to help show she was telling the truth, such as whether she paid for it or not, and that the examination occurred in what could be construed as atypical circumstances – in a hotel conference room the day or day after the funeral of Ford’s grandmother.
Mitchell also asked whether anyone or any group was paying for her legal representation, to which her attorney sitting next to her at the witness table, said no; Ford’s lawyers are working pro bono.
Yet others viewed Mitchell’s questioning about these and other details, such as whether the television was on during the alleged assault and whether she remembers who drove her home that night, as intending to establish the credibility of the witness through potentially corroborating specifics, versus attempts at undermining her testimony.
Since Ford’s claims became public, five other women have alleged sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh:
Deborah Ramirez alleged Kavanaugh exposed himself, putting his penis in her face in a dorm room party when they were freshmen at Yale.
Julie Swetnick said she saw Kavanaugh “consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women in the early 1980s.” Swetnick claims Kavanaugh attended house parties in which girls were drugged and gang raped, and that she saw Kavanaugh standing in a line with “numerous boys” who she alleged were “waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.” Swetnick says she was raped at one of these parties and thought she was drugged.
Three anonymous letters have also been sent alleging misconduct: One sent to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) about an incident in which it’s alleged Kavanaugh assaulted a woman in 1998 by pushing her up against a wall at a bar; another to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) alleging sexual assault in the mid-1980s in Rhode Island; and another to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) alleging rape.
Kavanaugh has vigorously denied all the allegations, saying in a Fox News interview: “I have never sexually assaulted anyone.”
“In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now,” Kavanaugh said in a prepared statement before testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee at press time Thursday.
“But that’s not why we are here today. What I’ve been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehavior. I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.”
Kavanaugh appeared wounded and angry in defending against the allegations he called a “calculated and orchestrated political hit” during testimony, alleging a conspiracy that was smearing a reputation built up over decades.
He choked up when mentioning his mother and father, describing inheriting his father’s calendar habit and his mother facing sexual harassment in the workplace, and in particular, when mentioning how his youngest daughter said the family “should pray” for one of his accusers, whom he paraphrased his daughter referring to as “the woman,” presumably Ford.
Kavanaugh said the confirmation process had become “a national disgrace,” and stridently accused democrats on the committee of championing an untrue allegation to tar his good reputation and keep him from taking a seat on the highest court in the land.
Kavanaugh’s claims however contrast with Ford’s testimony that she had first told her husband and therapist the details of the alleged assault in which she named Kavanaugh in a 2012 couples therapy session – an allegation she said she had relayed this July to her local congressional representative and as well via an anonymous tip to the Washington Post.
While Kavanaugh said “my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed” from the sexual assault allegations arising during the confirmation process, he said he “will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process.”
“You’ll never get me to quit.”