Kavanaugh's accuser says she would testify under right terms

Cristina King Miranda

Lawyers for the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spoke with attorneys for the Senate Judiciary Committee and laid out conditions for her appearance before the panel, including not being in the hearing room with him and assurances that she will be safe.

Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist who accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, has denied a viral rumor that suggested she could have "mistakenly" identified Kavanaugh for another high school classmate.

Ford had already indicated that she can not be prepared by Monday, as the current schedule for a hearing in front of the Senate judiciary committee demands.

That question of fairness is at the heart of a bitterly partisan debate over how to deal with the allegation that Kavanaugh drunkenly assaulted Ford at a party when he was 17, she was 15, and they were attending private schools outside Washington, DC.

Earlier this week Ford said she wished for the FBI to investigate her allegations before she offers testimony. "Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it".

"And frankly, it follows on conduct by many Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who I think virtually embarrassed themselves during the public hearings that were on display just a few short days ago", Pence said.

Democratic senators, pointing to the highly charged Anita Hill hearings in October 1991, have defended Ford's request to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation do its own probe before she testifies. Kavanaugh and his wife also had received threats, a senior White House official said. "He remains committed to providing a fair forum for both Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh".

Ford dismissed Whelan's theory in a statement late Thursday: "I knew them both, and socialized with" them, Ford said, adding that she had once visited the other classmate in the hospital.

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Which would make Democrats very happy, even if - especially if - Kavanaugh is confirmed.

The California professor is willing to come to Washington to give her account and be questioned by senators, but doesn't want Kavanaugh in the same room, her attorney told judiciary committee staff in a 30-minute phone call later on Thursday.

A handful of pivotal senators have yet to disclose how they will ultimately vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation, including Republican Sens.

A senior Senate Democratic aide noted that reopening Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks was fairly routine; 10 such probes into judicial nominees had been reopened in the last three months alone, the aide said. Because Ford's accusation is already public, Grassley argued that it was appropriate for the Senate to step in with their own investigation as lawmakers did when the Hill allegation first became public. It is unlikely that Republicans would allow a witness to dictate a subpoena of another witness.

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In the call, she said Ford needs time to secure her family, prepare her testimony and travel to Washington.

Pence also said the Democratic senators on the Judiciary committee also harmed the confirmation process by how they handled questioning Kavanaugh at the hearings.

Taylor Foy, spokesman for Grassley, said: "We are happy that Dr. Ford's attorneys are now engaging with the Committee".

"We already had a hearing, " Cornyn said.

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