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Senate committee to hear Ford’s testimony about sexual assault charge against Kavanaugh on Thursday

By Lalit K Jha

WASHINGTON: Christine Blasey Ford has agreed to a request from the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify before it next week on her sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court Nominee of President Donald Trump, her lawyer has said.

The Committee will tentatively hear the testimony of Ford on Thursday regarding her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, a media report said Saturday quoting a source familiar with the development.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation as a Supreme Court Judge now hinges on the much-anticipated hearing.

Ford had alleged that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a house party some 36 years ago in suburban Washington. He has denied the allegation and has been ready to testify before the Congressional committee from the very first day the stunning allegation against him surfaced about a week ago.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee tentatively agreed to a hearing on Thursday with Christine Blasey Ford regarding her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while in high school,” The Politico reported quoting a person familiar with the negotiations between the panel and Ford’s lawyers on Saturday night.

The committee’s Republican leader Chuck Grassley wanted the hearing to take place on Wednesday, but Ford asked that it be held on Thursday at the earliest, as she would be able to call as a witness a man she says was present during the assault, the report said.

Earlier in the day, Ford had accepted the Committee’s request to appear before it.

“Dr Ford accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” the two lawyers of Ford — Debra Katz and Lisa Banks — wrote in an email to Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The two attorneys had sought more time to decide on the timing of the testimony.

The White House said this could be a delaying tactic.

“Our view of this latest response from Ford through her attorney is still ambiguous. She says she is willing to testify, but she says she still wants negotiations. Until there is actually an agreement, there isn’t. It could be another delaying tactic,” a senior White House official had said.

The opposition Democrats described Ford’s decision as courageous.

“Courageously Dr Ford will tell her story in the face of an impossible choice and vile bullying by the Republican leadership,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

“I will support her steadfast bravery against the arbitrary, unfair, irrational constraints set by Chairman Grassley. I remain deeply disturbed by the conduct of my colleagues over the last week,” he added.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had initially scheduled the hearing on Monday, which now stands postponed.

Trump has said he strongly supports the nomination of Kavanaugh. The president has been critical of Ford.

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place! (sic),” Trump had said in a tweet earlier this week.




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