Kavanaugh’s accuser may testify ‘under right terms’

Photo by the Associated Press

Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who has alleged sexual assault, may testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, her attorney said Thursday, but not without conditions set.

The preference would be for Ford to testify next Thursday, and she doesn’t want Kavanaugh in the same room, her attorney told Judiciary Committee staff in a 30-minute call that also touched on security concerns and other issues, according to a Senate aide who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ford is willing to tell her story to the Judiciary Committee, whose senators will vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation—but only if agreement can be reached on “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” the attorney said in an email earlier Thursday. In the call, she said Ford needs time to secure her family, prepare her testimony and travel to Washington. No decisions were reached, the aide said.

The discussion revived the possibility that the panel would hold an electrifying campaign-season hearing at which both Ford and President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee could give their versions of what did or didn’t happen at a party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh, now a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has repeatedly denied her allegation.

Two of Kavanaugh’s former girlfriends also denied the allegation. They said the allegation doesn’t match up with his character.

Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has scheduled a hearing for Monday morning, and he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have indicated it would be Ford’s only chance to make her case. Republicans are anxious to move ahead to a vote by the committee, where they hold an 11-10 majority, and then by the full Senate, which they control, 51-49.

Taylor Foy, spokesman for Republicans on the panel, said after the call that Grassley “will consult with his colleagues on the committee. He remains committed to providing a fair forum for both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh.”