- Joshua Roberts/Reuters
- Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school in the 1980s, wants “a full investigation by law enforcement officials.”
- Ford’s attorneys said in a letter that a federal investigation must be conducted before Ford testifies to the Senate to “ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed.”
- Observers had expected Ford to testify at a newly scheduled public hearing set for Monday.
- The letter confirmed reports that Ford was targeted with death threats after she came forward with her allegations against Kavanaugh.
- The Justice Department previously said her allegation against Kavanaugh “does not involve any potential federal crime” to warrant an FBI investigation.
Attorneys for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school in the 1980s, say she wants “a full investigation by law enforcement officials” before she’ll appear in a public hearing, according to a CNN report published Tuesday.
Ford’s attorney’s wrote a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, saying an FBI investigation would “ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner” and would be critical “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,” the letter reportedly said.
“What we’re saying is there should be an investigation because that’s the right thing to do,” Lisa Banks, Ford’s attorney, told the CNN host Anderson Cooper. “She is prepared to cooperate with the committee and with any law-enforcement investigation.”
Sen. Diane Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, cosigned Ford’s request for an investigation.
“We should honor Dr. Blasey Ford’s wishes and delay this hearing,” Feinstein said in a statement on Tuesday. “A proper investigation must be completed, witnesses interviewed, evidence reviewed, and all sides spoken to. Only then should the chairman set a hearing date.”
The letter also confirmed that Ford, a mother of two teenagers, had been targeted with death threats since coming forward against Kavanaugh, whom President Donald Trump nominated for the Supreme Court in July after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.
Earlier Tuesday, The New York Times reported that after coming forward, Ford had moved out of her house and arranged for a private security detail after she received vulgar emails and messages on social media.
Ford’s accusation prompted the Judiciary Committee to delay its planned Thursday vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A public hearing is scheduled for next Monday, and both Kavanaugh and Ford were expected to testify after both had indicated a willingness to do so. Before the letter from Ford’s attorneys, however, lawmakers had been in limbo after multiple messages for Ford to appear at the hearing went unanswered.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Republican chair of the Senate Finance Committee, pushed back on Ford’s request for an FBI investigation. “The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us,” Hatch wrote, reiterating Grassley’s offer to let Ford testify before the Judiciary Committee.
“We should proceed as planned,” he said.
The Justice Department said in a statement on Monday that the sexual-assault allegation “does not involve any potential federal crime” to warrant an FBI investigation, according to the Associated Press. It added that the department’s role in conducting background investigations during the nomination process was to determine whether the nominee might be a national security risk.
Ford has 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.
Kavanaugh has categorically denied Ford’s claim and said he would testify to “refute this false allegation.”
A full investigation would be unlikely to conclude before Monday’s planned public hearing. Key witnesses have appeared reluctant to discuss the incident or have no memory of it. Mark Judge, a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s who became implicated in the allegation, has signaled he is unwilling to appear before the Judiciary Committee.
“I have no more information to offer the committee and I do not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford’s letter,” Judge said in a statement.