Monday, October 1, 2018

Prosecutor who questioned Christine Ford at Kavanaugh hearing tells senators she would not bring criminal charges

Following the congressional testimony on Thursday of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, the Washington Post reported that Karen Mitchell, the prosecutor hired by Republican senators to question Ford, stated she would not prosecute Ford’s claim if it was presented in her jurisdiction. Now we know why.

Mitchell explained her reasoning in a memo addressed to “All Republican senators” that was released late Sunday. In the document, she points to inconsistencies in Ford’s testimony which she says would make it all but impossible to bring criminal charges against Kavanaugh. 

Wait, when did it happen?

Ford, a professor of psychology at Palo Alto in California, claims that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party that took place when both were teens in high school. Kavanaugh, on the other hand, denies the claim, denies going to such a party, and even denies knowing Ford.

Mitchell, in the memo, wrote that this situation boils down to a “he said, she said” scenario which is “even weaker than that.” She explained this by pointing to a number of inconsistencies including Ford’s testimony about when the alleged incident took place.

Mitchell noted that Ford used a variety of dates ranging from the “early 1980s” to the “mid-1980s” and then, somewhat oddly, to the “summer of 1982.”

“While it is common for victims to be uncertain about dates,” wrote Mitchell, “Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the timeframe to a particular season and particular year.”

Who did it? What happened?

Another problem with Ford’s testimony, according to Mitchell, is Ford’s seeming inability to verify Kavanaugh as the man who sexually assaulted her. During Thursday’s testimony, Ford tried to dispel this issue by saying that she is “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh is the man who attacked her.

In the memo, Mitchell, however, points to other evidence which makes Ford’s sudden certainty unusual, specifically that Kavanaugh’s name was in neither the notes from Ford’s 2012 marriage therapy nor the notes from her individual therapy in 2013.

Mitchell additionally found troubling Ford’s inability to recall important parts of the event, including how she got to and from the party. But, more significantly, Mitchell noted that Ford does not even seem to remember the house in which this traumatic experience occurred.

Based on the holes in Ford’s testimony and that Ford’s fact-witnesses, including lifelong friend Leyland Keyser, deny any recollection of such an incident, Mitchell concludes that she would not prosecute Kavanaugh.

Rachel Mitchell

Mitchell is an Arizona prosecutor with almost 25 years of experience in prosecuting sexual assault cases, just like the one alleged by Ford.

Republicans of the Senate Committee hired her, as Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) put it, to “de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns.” Mitchell did just that on Thursday, professionally uncovering the facts.

In the memo, Mitchell noted that the Ford-Kavanaugh controversy is not a legal trial, but that her assessment was based on its legal context.

Nonetheless, some judiciousness should be welcomed in the highly emotional atmosphere that is surrounding the confirmation of Kavanaugh. And, given Mitchell’s background, her words must hold some weight with those who are trying to get to the truth of the matter.

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