Ford lawyer proposes testifying next Thursday

Greg Nash

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is reportedly willing to publicly testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next Thursday.

Lawyers for Ford told committee staffers during a call Thursday evening to negotiate details of a potential hearing that she wanted Kavanaugh to testify before her and she does not want to be in the same room as him, according to multiple reports

A source told CNN that Ford’s lawyers are also opposed to an outside counsel being used to question her during a hearing, something that was being discussed by Republican senators to avoid the optics of 11 male GOP senators questioning Ford. 

The call comes after Ford’s lawyers opened the door earlier Thursday to her appearing before the committee next week, while warning that a public hearing currently scheduled for Monday was “not possible.” 

{mosads}“She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” Ford lawyer Debra Katz wrote, asking to talk with committee staff about the “conditions” for her testimony.

Katz had also raised concerns about being able to guarantee the safety of Ford and her family, noting they have received threats.

“As you are aware, she has been receiving death threats, which have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and she and her family have been forced out of their home. She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and ensure her safety,” Katz wrote.

Aides for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday evening that they had a call with Ford’s lawyers “to discuss receiving her testimony in the Judiciary Committee.” 

“[Grassley] will consult with his colleagues on the committee. He remains committed to providing a fair forum for both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh,” they added.

In one sign of activity, Katz’s lawyers cancelled multiple TV appearances scheduled for Thursday night, citing active negotiations with Judiciary Committee staff on a potential hearing.

The talks come after the chances of Ford publicly testifying had been all but written off amid a stalemate between her lawyers and Grassley’s staff about whether the FBI should reopen its background investigation into Kavanaugh. 

Ford’s lawyers initially indicated the FBI reopening its probe was a precursor to any public testimony, while GOP senators and the White House had warned it was unlikely to happen.

Ford’s public testimony would make for a highly dramatic moment and could sway the votes of key senators who have not announced their decision yet on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in the early 1980s. Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, tried to remove her clothing and covered her mouth when she tried to protest.

Kavanaugh, who has strongly denied Ford’s allegations, said in a letter to Grassley released by the White House on Thursday evening that he was prepared to go ahead with testifying at a hearing on Monday.

“I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name,” he wrote.

Updated: 9:38 p.m.

Tags Chuck Grassley

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