Ex-colleague blasts outside counsel's Kavanaugh memo as 'disingenuous'

A former colleague of Rachel Mitchell, the outside counsel hired by Republicans to question Christine Blasey Ford last week, is blasting a memo the lawyer drafted as "disingenuous." 

In a memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mitchell wrote that Ford's sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were "weak" on legal grounds.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mitchell, an Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor, wrote that she does not believe a "reasonable prosecutor" would bring Ford's case to trial.  

Matthew Long in an interview with Mother Jones said he is "very disappointed" in Mitchell. Long worked as a prosecutor under Mitchell in Maricopa County, Ariz. for years. He now works in private practice, the outlet reported. 

“I find her willingness to author this absolutely disingenuous," Long told Mother Jones. “She knows better. She should only be applying this standard when there’s an adequate investigation.

“Mitchell doesn’t have sufficient information to even draw these conclusions,” he said.

Mitchell in the memo emphasized her background is not in politics, so she can only present an analysis of the allegations from a legal perspective. The memo does not include any analysis of Kavanaugh's testimony, for which Mitchell was present. 

Long accused Mitchell of revealing "political bias" by omitting analysis of Kavanaugh's defense. 

Mitchell in the memo pointed to gaps in Ford's memory of the event, particularly when it occurred, as one inconsistency in her account. 

Long said Mitchell would not hold victims to that standard in her own office.

“The spotty memory Ms. Mitchell talks about, as if that’s an indication it didn’t happen, is just absurd,” he said. “I was trained by Ms. Mitchell about how trauma explicitly does prevent memory from happening.” 

Victims often struggle to identify specific details from traumatic events, such as assault.

Long emphasized that Mitchell should not have authored the memo without conducting a full investigation, pointing out she was only able to question Ford in short increments at a public hearing. He said the statements from other people named by Ford wouldn't "meet any type of standard" in Mitchell's typical cases.

Mitchell questioned long last week during a Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford at the hearing laid out her allegation that Kavanaugh held her down and assaulted her during a high school party in 1982. Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegation. 

Mitchell questioned Ford on behalf of GOP senators in 5-minute intervals, alternating with Democratic senators who questioned the witness directly.

Mitchell during the hearing finished up her questioning by asking if Ford knew the best way to question alleged trauma victims.

"Would you believe me if I told you that says there's no study that says that this setting in five minute increments is the best way to do that?" Mitchell asked.

She added the best way to interview victims "is to have a trained interviewer talk to you one on one in a private setting and to let you do the talking—just let you do the narrative." 

When Kavanaugh was testifying, GOP senators largely sidelined Mitchell and addressed the high court nominee directly.