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Monday, 17 September 2018

'I thought he might inadvertently kill me': Woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her as a teen reveals herself to be a University professor, aged 51, as she goes public with her harrowing account

  • Christine Blasey Ford is going public with her allegations against Kavanaugh
  • She described to The Washington Post how he attacked her in high school
  • She said he pinned her down, covered her mouth and tried to rip off her swimsuit
  • Kavanaugh has denied the allegation
  • Speculation about a #metoo moment in Kavanaugh's past grew after it was revealed Sen. Dianne Feinstein had a letter from a woman making that charge 
  • Ford said she felt like she had to come forward as stories about the letter grew
  • 'I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation,' she told The Washington Post
  • Ford is a professor at Palo Alto University and originally spoke on the incident in 2012 when she was in couples therapy with her husband 
Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who wrote the letter accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is going public with her story, saying she thought he might kill her during an alleged drunken high school attack.
'I thought he might inadvertently kill me,' said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California, to The Washington Post. 'He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.'
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh's classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them and sent them tumbling.
Christine Blasey Ford is going public with her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh
Christine Blasey Ford is going public with her allegation against Brett Kavanaugh
Christine Blasey Ford said she was worried Brett Kavanaugh might kill her during a drunken high school assault back in the 1980s
Christine Blasey Ford said she was worried Brett Kavanaugh might kill her during a drunken high school assault back in the 1980s
Brett Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook
Brett Kavanaugh in his high school yearbook
Christine Blasey (now Ford) in the 1984 Holton-Arms Yearbook
Christine Blasey (now Ford) in the 1984 Holton-Arms Yearbook
She told the newspaper she ran from the room, locked herself in a bathroom until she heard the boys go back downstairs, and then fled the house where the party was taking place.
Ford described the attack as taking place during the summer in the early 1980s, when Kavanaugh and a friend — both 'stumbling drunk,' Ford charges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.
In her first public comments on the incident, which came to light last week after Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein referred a 'letter' describing a sexual assault to the FBI, she described what happened when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.
While his friend watched, Ford recounts to The Post, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding against and attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. 
She said she tried to scream and he put his hand over her mouth. 
She told the paper she did not recall all the details after such a long time but she thinks the incident occurred in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and at the end of her sophomore year at the all-girls Holton-Arms School in Bethesda. 
Kavanaugh would have been 17 at the end of his junior year at the all-male Georgetown Prep.
Kavanaugh has denied the charges.
He told The New Yorker last week: 'I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.' Judge insists it never happened.
'It's just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way,' Judge told The Weekly Standard on Friday before Ford went public.
He added that he had never seen boys 'rough-housing' with his female peers from other schools in ways that might have been interpreted negatively: 'I don't remember any of that stuff going on with girls.' 
Ford said there were no parents home when the teenagers gathered at a house in Montgomery County, Md., not far from the Columbia Country Club pool in Chevy Chase, Md., where she spent her summer.
She named two other teenagers who she said were at the party, who did not respond to The Post's inquiries, the paper reported.
She described a small family room where each of them had one beer but claimed that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge had started drinking earlier and were heavily intoxicated.
She said she left the party to use the bathroom when she was pushed into a bedroom and the alleged attack occurred. 
She said she has not spoken to Kavanaugh since. 
The political fallout from the allegations have yet to be determined. Republicans have questioned the timing of the story's release but that was before Ford went public and offered her side of the tale.
Two of the key Republican votes are women - Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins - neither of whom face voters this year and both of whom said they are with holding judgement of Kavanaugh until after his confirmation hearing is concluded.
The White House was hoping to pick up some Democratic votes - particularly Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - all of whom voted for Trump's first nominee Neil Gorsuch and who face voters this fall in their home states, which the president carried in the 2016 election.
But before Kavanaugh makes it to the Supreme Court, he has to get voted on in the Judiciary Committee, which has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.
And Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose vote could make or break Kavanaugh's nomination, is indicating he would vote no on the nominee unless he hears from Ford. 
'If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she's had to say, I'm not comfortable voting yes,' he told Politico
And Flake told The Washington Post: 'For me, we can't vote until we hear more,' he said.   
Kavanaugh could proceed to the Senate floor with a tie vote in the committee but given Republicans 51-seat majority in the upper chamber, and if Flake votes no again, the party could not lose a single other senator should all Democrats vote no. 
Washington, D.C. writer Mark Judge has been identified as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's high school friend described in a woman's so-far unsubstantiated letter accusing Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her when they were 17
Washington, D.C. writer Mark Judge has been identified as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's high school friend described in a woman's so-far unsubstantiated letter accusing Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her when they were 17
Judge posted this weathered 1981 photo on Facebook depicting a beach week with his group of high school friends; Brett Kavanaugh is pictured in the back row, second from the right
Judge posted this weathered 1981 photo on Facebook depicting a beach week with his group of high school friends; Brett Kavanaugh is pictured in the back row, second from the right
Party culture: This group photo of students at Georgetown Prep was taken in 1983, the year Kavanaugh graduated; Judge wrote on Facebook that the mustachioed man at the bottom was his gym teacher whose bachelor party ¿ complete with a stripper ¿ was attended by some of the boys. Judge is pictured directly above the teacher
Party culture: This group photo of students at Georgetown Prep was taken in 1983, the year Kavanaugh graduated; Judge wrote on Facebook that the mustachioed man at the bottom was his gym teacher whose bachelor party – complete with a stripper – was attended by some of the boys. Judge is pictured directly above the teacher
Brett Kavanaugh,  third from left, in his high school yearbook 
Brett Kavanaugh,  third from left, in his high school yearbook 
In his senior-class yearbook entry, Kavanaugh made several references to drinking, claiming membership to the 'Beach Week Ralph Club' and 'Keg City Club.'
Judge is a filmmaker and author who has chronicled his recovery from alcoholism in 'Wasted: Tales of a Gen-X Drunk,' which described a black-out drinking and culture of partying among students at his high school, which, in the book, he called 'Loyola Prep.' The book is out of print.
Kavanaugh is not mentioned in Judge's book, but a passage about partying at the beach one summer references a 'Bart O'Kavanaugh,' who 'puked in someone's car the other night' and 'passed out on his way back from a party.'
Kavanaugh did not respond to The Post's question about whether the name was a pseudonym for him.
Ford said she didn't tell anyone about the incident until 2012 when she was in couples therapy with her husband. 
She gave portions of the therapist's notes to The Post. 
The newspaper reports the notes do not mention Kavanaugh by name but say Ford described how 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.'  
Additional notes show she described a 'rape attempt' in her late teens.Brettt Kavanaugh (at right, pictured in his high school yearbook), now a 53-year-old U.S. Supreme Court nominee, was 17 years old at the time a woman alleges he tried to force himself on her sexually ¿ an accusation he flatly denies; the boy behind him is Mark Judge
Brettt Kavanaugh (at right, pictured in his high school yearbook), now a 53-year-old U.S. Supreme Court nominee, was 17 years old at the time a woman alleges he tried to force himself on her sexually – an accusation he flatly denies; the boy behind him is Mark Judge
Mystery: Brett Kavanaugh is the subject of the letter from the unknown woman which has been referred to the FBI. It is unclear if the bureau's agents are investigating
FBI request: Diane Feinstein has referred a letter she has received to the Justice Department. It reportedly concerns Kavanuagh's high school behavior 
FBI request: Diane Feinstein has referred a letter she has received to the Justice Department.
Ford retained Debra Katz, a prominent Washington D.C. attorney involved in the #MeToo movement
Ford retained Debra Katz, a prominent Washington D.C. attorney involved in the #MeToo movement
Her husband Russell Ford said that in therapy sessions, his wife recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming.
He said she used Kavanaugh's last name and voiced concern that he — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.
The White House sent The Washington Post the same statement Kavanaugh issued last week: 'I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.' 
Russell Ford said nominees to the court are subject to a higher standard.  
'I think you look to judges to be the arbiters of right and wrong,' Russell Ford said. 'If they don't have a moral code of their own to determine right from wrong, then that's a problem. So I think it's relevant. Supreme Court nominees should be held to a higher standard.' 
Ford is a clinical psychology professor at Palo Alto University who teaches in a consortium with Stanford University. She has been widely published in academic journals.
She said the incident contributed to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms with which she has struggled.
She contacted the newspaper through a tip line in early July, when Kavanaugh was on President Donald Trump's shortlist of potential nominees to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. 
She said she decided in late August not to come forward as she was concerned the publicity would upend her life while not affecting Kavanaugh's confirmation.  
'Why suffer through the annihilation if it's not going to matter?' she told the paper.
President Trump
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh
Donald Trump made Kavanaugh his second Supreme Court nominee, opening up his life to intense scrutiny from Democrats who want to stymie the president's chances to tilt the court politically to the right
Kavanaugh at the White House in July with his wife and daughters when his nomination was announced 
Kavanaugh at the White House in July with his wife and daughters when his nomination was announced 
Russell Ford, the husband of Christine Ford
Russell Ford, the husband of Christine FordBut her story leaked as it was reported Feinstein had the letter and was refusing to share it with her Democratic colleagues.
Ford is a registered Democrat.
In late July, she sent a letter to Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her California congresswoman, about the incident. Eshoo passed it to Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee that is weighing Kavanaugh's nomination.
Ford said she doesn't believe Feinstein leaked her name. 
Feinstein passed the letter to the FBI - with Ford's name redacted. The agency declined to investigate but sent it to the White House, who passed it on to all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
'Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh's background file, as per the standard process,' the FBI said. 
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on whether or not to move Kavanaugh's nomination forward on Thursday.
Feinstein said the FBI should reconsider its decision and investigate before his nomination comes to a vote before the committee.
'It has always been Mrs. Ford's decision whether to come forward publicly,' Feinstein said in a statement.
'From the outset, I have believed these allegations were extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh's character. However, as we have seen over the past few days, hey also come at a price for the victim. I hope the attacks and shaming of her will stop and this will be treated with seriousness it deserves.'
She concluded: 'It is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nomination.' 
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to postpone the vote until the allegations are investigated.
'Senator Grassley must postpone the vote until, at a very minimum, these serious and credible allegations are thoroughly investigated. For too long, when woman have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored. That cannot happen in this case,' he said in a statement.
'To railroad a vote now would be an insult to the women of America and the integrity of the Supreme Court,' he added. 
Grassley continues to question the timing of the allegations and called on Feinstein to release the letter she received. 
'It's disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the even of a committee after Democrats sat on them since July,' he said in a statement.
He added if Feinstein and Democrats 'took this claim seriously, they should have brought it to the full committee's attention much earlier.'
He concluded: 'It raises a lot of questions about Democrats' tactics and motives to bring hi to the rest of the committee's attention only now rather than during these many steps along he way. Senator Feinstein should publicly release the letter she received back in July so that everyone can know what she's known for weeks.'
He did agree, however, to schedule followup phone calls between Kavanaugh, Ford, and committee staff on both sides of the aisle.
'The Chairman and ranking member routinely hold bipartisan staff calls with nominees when updates are made to nominees' background files. Given the late addendum to the background file and revelations of Dr. Ford's identity, Chairman Grassley is working to set up such followup calls with Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford ahead of Thursday's scheduled vote,' he said in a second statement Sunday evening.  
Kavanaugh, from the moment Trump announced his nomination, has stressed he has supported and promoted women. 
In his remarks at the White House in July when Trump introduced him as his nominee, Kavanaugh touted his strong record with women throughout his career, noting he's hired a majority of female law clerks and that Elena Kagan, who is now on the Supreme Court, hired him to teach at Harvard. 
He has talked about how he's a coach for his daughter's basketball team and had past and present players attend his confirmation hearing.
Brett Kavanaugh with his wife Ashley and daughters Margaret and Liza at his nomination announcement 
Brett Kavanaugh with his wife Ashley and daughters Margaret and Liza at his nomination announcement 
Kavanaugh, who now coaches girls basketball, was captain of his high school varsity team (front, center)
Kavanaugh, who now coaches girls basketball, was captain of his high school varsity team (front, center)
Kavanaugh, center, poses for a photograph with his current and former basketball team members he coaches during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday
Kavanaugh, center, poses for a photograph with his current and former basketball team members he coaches during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday
Two women - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and liberal lawyer Lisa Blatt along with Sen. Rob Portman - introduced Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing
Two women - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and liberal lawyer Lisa Blatt along with Sen. Rob Portman - introduced Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearingHe had two women - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and liberal lawyer Lisa Blatt - introduce him to senators at his hearing. 
His four days of hearings were continually interrupted by protestors - mostly women - who were worried about his record on abortion rights.  
Judiciary Committee Republicans scrambled last week to assemble a glowing open letter from 65 women who knew Kavanaugh during his high school years and say 'he has always been a good person.' The letter was released Friday morning.
'For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect,' they wrote.
'Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day.'  
Before Ford came public, a White House spokeswoman complained about the timing of the vague and gauzy revelation.
'Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new 'information' about him,' Kerri Kupec said.  
Ford described to The Post her concern her identity would be revealed anyway as the story snow balled. She said a reporter from Buzzfeed approached her outside her college classroom and another reporter was calling her colleagues.
'These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,' she told the paper. 'Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.'
Ford hired Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer known for her work on sexual harassment cases. 
On the advice of Katz, Ford took a lie detector administered by a former FBI agent in early August. 
The results, which Katz gave to The Post, concluded that Ford was being truthful.

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