Kavanaugh accuser Ford to Grassley: ‘My fear will not hold me back from testifying’
The woman who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party told a top Republican senator she is prepared to recount her story to lawmakers, despite concerns for her safety.
“While I am frightened, please know, my fear will not hold me back from testifying and you will be provided with answers to all of your questions. I ask for fair and respectful treatment,” Christine Blasey Ford wrote in a letter sent Saturday to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The letter was made public on Monday.
In the time since Ford wrote to Grassley, the two sides agreed that she would testify on Thursday.
Ford, who came forward earlier this month to allege Kavanaugh pinned her down and groped her at a high school party in 1982, explained in her letter that she was hesitant to share her story. But she ultimately felt a “civic duty” to notify her congresswoman of the allegations because Kavanaugh is being considered for the Supreme Court.
“I felt that this was something that a citizen couldn’t NOT do,” Ford wrote. “I felt agony yet urgency and a civic duty to let it be known, in a confidential manner, prior to the nominee being selected.”
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegation, and is expected to testify on Thursday as well.
Republicans and President Trump in recent days have ratcheted up their attacks on Ford’s credibility, questioning why she waited decades to come forward with her accusations and declined to file a police report.
Advocates have noted that many sexual assault victims do not report the crime immediately afterward, or at all in some cases.
Ford wrote to Grassley that her sole motivation in coming forward was “to tell the truth about what Mr. Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge did to me.”
“Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions, while many years ago, were serious and have had a lasting impact on my life,” she wrote. “I thought that knowledge of his actions could be useful for you and those in charge of choosing among the various candidates.”
Ford initially brought her concerns to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) in July, and later submitted a letter detailing her allegation to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ford asked that her accusations remain private, but she ultimately revealed her identity in an interview with The Washington Post published last week.
She noted in Saturday’s letter that she has received death threats and other unwanted attention since.
“While the nationwide outpouring of love has been heartwarming, I am spending considerable time managing death threats, avoiding people following me on freeways, and disconcerting media intrusion, including swarms of vans at my home and unauthorized persons entering my classroom and medical settings where I work,” Ford wrote to Grassley.
Ford requested that certain conditions she requested be honored during the hearing. Ford’s team of lawyers requested limited media presence during the hearing, dedicated security for their client and lengthy breaks in testimony.
Grassley responded to Ford in a letter written and released on Monday in which the senator assured her that she would receive “fair and respectful” treatment.
He suggested he should have received Ford’s letter to Feinstein when it was first sent, but added that he’s made a “sincere and thorough” effort to look into her allegation in the time since it was made public.
“The arrangements made to re-open and continue the confirmation hearing on Thursday will allow you to testify and also will allow the nominee to address the allegations made against him,” Grassley wrote. “Both of you deserve a credible and fair process in a secure and professional setting.”
In a handwritten note at the end of the letter, Grassley added, “PS: I look forward to your testimony.”
Senate Democrats have called for Thursday’s hearing to be postponed in light of a new allegation against Kavanaugh, published in The New Yorker on Sunday.
The magazine detailed an accusation from Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her and thrust his genitals in her face at a college party in the 1980s.
Kavanaugh fiercely denied that allegation as well, calling it part of a series of “smears” against his character.
“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.”
–Updated at 3:39 p.m.