Friday, September 21, 2018

▷ Brett Kavanaugh agrees to appear at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday: ‘I will be there’ ✅

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has endured vague accusations of sexual assault which have impugned his character and delayed his potential Supreme Court confirmation, is anxious to clear his name. Responding to an invitation to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to publicly recount his side of the story, Kavanaugh jumped at the chance to exonerate himself.

“Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Monday, September 24,” he wrote. “I will be there.”

Kavanaugh continued: “I look forward to the opportunity to testify before the Committee. I continue to want a hearing as soon as possible, so that I can clear my name.”

Senate showdown

But it’s not clear that Kavanaugh’s accuser shares his enthusiasm for closure. Christine Blasey Ford initially seemed uninterested in various proposals to hold hearings that would respect her desire for privacy and safety.

Now, through lawyer Debra Katz, Ford has outright refused to commit to testifying on Monday, and has instead produced a list of demands that must accompany her compliance.

“A hearing on Monday is not possible and the Committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event,” Katz, a hard-hitting Washington lawyer who handles large sexual harassment suits, said. “Dr. Ford has asked me to let you know that she appreciates the various options you have suggested. Her strong preference continues to be for the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow for a full investigation prior to her testimony.”

Hijacking the nomination process

By Thursday evening, Ford’s legal team was negotiating their client’s unaccommodating list of demands with the committee, signaling that they may be ready for the highly anticipated showdown as early as next Thursday. That is, if Kavanaugh agrees to a few inflexible conditions.

In addition to security guarantees and a promise to keep the hearings from evolving into a “media circus,” the Supreme Court nominee would have to agree to testify before his accuser. However, according to legal experts like Hastings Women’s Law Journal editor Lina Guillen, “Cross-examination is a fundamental right in the American system of justice,” because it allows the defendant to “refer to the [witness’s] previous statements and show inconsistencies in the story.” Kavanaugh would be deprived of this basic civil right if Ford has her way.

This isn’t the only condition that Republican committee members may be reluctant to meet. Ford has also intimated that she wants the committee to subpoena Kavanaugh’s schoolmate and the only other witness to the alleged assault, Mark Judge.

However, Judge has already testified before the committee, and has unequivocally stated that he does not wish to publicly recount the event, which he denied occurred as Ford described.

Tick tock

While setting a deadline of 10 a.m. on Friday for Ford to agree to a public hearing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) explained to his colleagues across the aisle just how accommodating Republicans have been with Kavanaugh’s accuser. Grassley outlined all of the options presented to Ford in a Sept. 19 letter to Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), writing:

Dr. Ford has asked for the opportunity to be heard in a hearing, and I believe she should have that opportunity. I recognize that testifying publicly about sexual assault allegations may be difficult for Dr. Ford, so I have offered her the opportunity to testify in any of four possible venues: (1) a public hearing; (2) a private hearing; (3) a public staff interview; or (4) a private staff interview. I am even willing to have my staff travel to Dr. Ford in California—or anywhere else—to obtain her testimony.

While Ford’s high-powered legal team battles with Grassley and other senators over the most mundane provisions, such as how many cameras should be allowed within the committee chambers, Kavanaugh is anxious to put the political firestorm behind him.

“Since the moment I first heard this allegation, I have categorically and unequivocally denied it,” the Supreme Court nominee wrote on Thursday. “I remain committed to defending my integrity.”

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