House, Senate strike deal on sexual harassment bill
Attorney for Kavanaugh accuser criticizes Senate panel's ‘rush to a hearing’
An attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is faulting the Senate Judiciary Committee for going ahead with a hearing Monday despite requests that it be delayed.
Lisa Banks, Ford's attorney, said in a statement that her client has been "thrust into the spotlight" and forced from her home by death threats as a result of coming forward, and should have the opportunity to appear alongside witnesses at the hearing.
Ford has not confirmed that she will appear at the committee's request at a Monday hearing.
"The rush to a hearing is unnecessary, and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth," Banks says in the statement.
"She continues to believe that a full non-partisan investigation of this matter is needed and she is willing to cooperate with the Committee," the attorney continues.
"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," she adds.
Ford's attorney released the statement after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a letter reminding her legal team that it has a deadline of 10 a.m. Friday to decide whether Ford will testify at next week's hearing.
Grassley said he would not delay the hearing despite Ford's request that the FBI be given time to assess crucial facts and witnesses, who could corroborate her allegations.
Grassley told Ford's lawyers that the FBI conducts background checks for the Senate only as a courtesy and that it's up to the Judiciary Committee itself to assess the credibility of information about a nominee.
Democrats in the Senate, including Judicary Committee member Sen. Christopher Coons (Del.), have called for additional witnesses to testify, including Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's classmate who was accused of assisting him by turning up music during the alleged sexual assault.
"I think if we're going to go ahead with a Monday hearing at the very least we should have Mark Judge testify. And the FBI agent who was responsible for the background investigation," Coons said Tuesday.
Judge has refused to testify, however, writing in a brief letter to the top senators on the committee, "I have no memory of this alleged incident." He added that he "did not ask to be involved in this matter nor did anyone ask me to be involved."