‘There are multiple witnesses who should be included’: A lawyer for the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault raises the stakes ahead of planned hearing

  • The attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor who accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s, called for additional witnesses to testify at a hearing planned for Monday.
  • Attorney Lisa Banks argued that her client, a mother of two teenagers, was “thrust into the public spotlight” after going public with her allegation against Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
  • One key witness in the allegation appeared reluctant to discuss the incident or has no memory of it.

The attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor who accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s, claimed that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing scheduled for Monday felt rushed and called for additional witnesses to testify.

Attorney Lisa Banks argued that her client, a mother of two teenagers, was “thrust into the public spotlight” after going public with her allegation against Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Ford said Kavanaugh was “stumbling drunk” during a small party in high school, at which he pinned her to a bed, groped her over her clothes, and covered her mouth with his hand when she started to scream.

After coming forward and having her identity revealed, Ford has reportedly moved out of her house and hired private security after receiving death threats and vulgar messages on social media.

“Dr. Ford was reluctantly thrust into the public spotlight only two days ago,” a statement from Banks said. “She is currently unable to go home, and is receiving ongoing threats to her and her family’s safety.”

“Fairness and respect for her situation dictate that she should have time to deal with this,” Banks said. “She continues to believe that a full non-partisan investigation of this matter is needed and she is willing to cooperate with the Committee.”

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, gave Ford’s lawyers a Friday deadline to answer whether or not their client will testify.

Grassley noted he had offered Ford several venues for her testimony, including a public or private setting, or an option for her to speak to his staffers in California, where she lives, according to committee spokesman Garrett Ventry.

Kavanaugh, who has categorically denied the claims, said he was willing to testify.

While Republican lawmakers are willing to hear testimony from Ford, they have demurred Democratic lawmakers and Ford’s request for an FBI investigation. A vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation was delayed this week. Some Republicans have urged their colleagues to get past Ford’s allegations and proceed with a vote.

Banks said the “rush to a hearing is unnecessary,” and called for the Judiciary Committee to summon additional witnesses from the alleged incident.

“However, the Committee’s stated plan to move forward with a hearing that has only two witnesses is not a fair or good faith investigation; there are multiple witnesses whose names have appeared publicly and should be included in any proceeding,” Banks said in the statement.

Key witnesses have appeared reluctant to discuss the incident, or claimed to have no memory of it. Mark Judge, a former high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s who became implicated in the allegation, has signaled he is unwilling to appear before the Judiciary Committee.

It was unclear whether Ford would testify, regardless of whether the FBI makes the unlikely move to launch a formal investigation into the allegation, or whether the Judiciary Committee calls for more witnesses. Ford’s attorneys were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday evening.