Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford said she wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic senator from California, alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 6:10 p.m. EDT Sept 17: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold another public hearing Monday with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following allegations of sexual assault against the judge, according to The Washington Post.
His accuser Christine Blasey Ford will also testify before the committee.
“Judge Kavanaugh looks forward to a hearing where he can clear his name of this false allegation. He stands ready to testify tomorrow if the Senate is ready to hear him,” according to a new White House statement, CBS News reported.
The committee was scheduled to take a vote this week on Kavanaugh’s nomination after concluding hearings last week. Now it’s unclear when that might happen.
Update 5:15 p.m. EDT Sept 17: Judge Brett Kavanaugh will talk with Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee by phone Monday afternoon about the sexual assault allegation against him made by a California college professor, but none of the 10 Democrats on the committee will be part of the call, according to several news outlets.
In a statement earlier Monday, Kavanaugh vehemently denied the accusation.
Update 4:10 p.m. EDT Sept 17 : Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP will review the sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh “by the book” and seek interviews, according to The Associated Press.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins said both Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh “should testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Update 3:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: While speaking with reporters Monday, President Donald Trump criticized Democrats for waiting to share the allegation against Kavanaugh with their Republican colleagues but added that, “we want to go through a full process... and hear everybody out.”
“If it takes a little delay, it’ll take a little delay,” the president said.
Kavanaugh and White House officials have issued several denials since Ford told the Post on Sunday that the Supreme Court nominee drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Both he and Ford have said they are willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the alleged incident.
“Judge Kavanaugh is one of the finest people that I’ve ever known,” Trump said Monday. “(He’s) never even had a little blemish on his record.”
Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement Monday that his office is working to schedule follow-up calls with Ford and Kavanaugh to update the nominee’s background investigation file in light of Ford’s allegation. Democrats have asked to postpone a vote over Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court to give the FBI time to investigate the allegation.
In a statement, Grassley said, “Anyone who comes forward as Dr. Ford has deserves to be heard.”
He said follow-up calls are standard procedure in similar cases and questioned the decision by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, to share the allegation with federal investigators Thursday, despite her receiving the information months earlier.
“The Minority withheld even the anonymous allegations for six weeks, only to later decide that they were serious enough to investigate on the eve of the committee vote, after the vetting process had been completed,” Grassley wrote.
Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied the claim. Both he and Ford have said they are willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the alleged incident.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Monday said she believes Kavanaugh and Ford should testify before the committee.
The Maine Republican is a key swing vote on Kavanaugh's nomination. If she were to vote against Kavanaugh, the opposition of another Republican could block his nomination.
Democrats have called for Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing to be postponed to give the FBI time to investigate the allegation.
Update 11:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter sent Monday to committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asking that a planned vote on Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination be postponed in light of Ford’s allegation.
“There are serious questions about Judge Kavanaugh’s record, truthfulness, and character,” the letter said. “The Committee should not move forward until all of these questions have been thoroughly evaluated and answered.”
Democrats said delaying Thursday's hearing would give the FBI time to investigate Ford’s allegation that a drunk Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when both were in high school in the early 1980s.
The White House and Kavanaugh deny any assault took place.
Grassley hasn't indicated he'd delay the committee vote.
Update 10:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: In a statement released to the White House press pool on Monday, Kavanaugh said he would be willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the alleged assault.
“This is a completely false allegation,” Kavanaugh said. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes -- to her or anyone.”
He said he was unaware that his accuser was Ford until she came forward Sunday.
Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
“I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity,” Kavanaugh said Monday.
Update 9:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters Monday that Ford “should testify under oath and she do it on Capitol Hill,” but she added that the decision ultimately lies with the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“This woman should not be insulted, and she should not be ignored,” Conway said in an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.” Conway said Kavanaugh also should testify to the allegations, noting he has already provided testimony and has undergone FBI background checks.
Ford tells The Washington Post a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has "categorically" denied the allegations.
Update 7:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, told CNN that her client would be willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegations against Kavanaugh.
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec issued the following statement:
“On Friday, Judge Kavanaugh ‘categorically and unequivocally’ denied this allegation. This has not changed. Judge Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement."
Original report: A professor at Palo Alto University admitted she wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic senator from California, alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, The Washington Post reported.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Christine Blasey Ford, who is now a research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford, 51, sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. While her identity was not initially revealed, Ford, in an interview with the Post, said Kavanaugh assaulted her when both were high school students in suburban Maryland.
Ford told the newspaper that during a summer gathering in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend were allegedly “stumbling drunk” when they steered her into a bedroom in Montgomery County.
Ford alleged that while his friend watched, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and groped over her clothes, grinding his body against her while trying to remove her one-piece bathing suit, the Post reported. When she tried to scream, Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth, Ford alleged.
Ford said that she was able to escape from the bedroom when Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, jumped on top of them, the newspaper reported.
Ford said she remained silent about the incident until 2012, when she began attending couples therapy with her husband, the Post reported.
Some of the therapist’s notes, provided to the newspaper by Ford, do not mention Kavanaugh by name. But they do say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.
The White House responded to Ford’s comments with a statement Kavanaugh released last week, when the allegations first surfaced.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh’s statement said.
Kavanaugh declined comment to the Post, and the White House had no additional comment.
In a statement, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called the accusations “disturbing.”
"It’s disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July," Grassley said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, another Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that he would “gladly listen” to Ford’s accusations.
In an email to the Weekly Standard on Sunday, Judge repeated his denial.
"Now that the anonymous person has been identified and has spoken to the press, I repeat my earlier statement that I have no recollection of any of the events described in today’s Post article or attributed to her letter,” Judge wrote to the newspaper. “Since I have nothing more to say I will not comment further on this matter. I hope you will respect my position and my privacy.”
In an interview Friday with The Weekly Standard, before Ford’s name was revealed, Judge denied the incident occurred.
“It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,” Judge said. He told the New York Times that Kavanaugh was a “brilliant student” who loved sports and was not “into anything crazy or illegal.”
Shauna Thomas, executive director of the women’s group UltraViolet, said in a statement Sunday that her organization supported Ford.
“We believe women and we believe Christine Blasey Ford,” Thomas’ statement read. “Ford has demonstrated tremendous courage in coming forward and sharing her story of how Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. She is a hero and we have her back.”
As the story became public, Ford said she became concerned about inaccuracies and believed her privacy was being infringed upon, the Post reported.
“These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she told the newspaper. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.