Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh is adamant that he did not sexually assault a woman when they were in their teens.
Kavanaugh is so determined to underscore his denial that he is now willing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee once again.
What’s the background?
A woman — later identified as California professor Christine Blasey Ford — accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault in an incident that allegedly took place in the early 1980s.
The information was delivered in letters to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in July — shortly after President Donald Trump chose Kavanaugh as his nominee for Supreme Court justice.
The information only became public as a result of a Friday report in The New Yorker.
Feinstein said she turned the letter over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee later issued a statement on the letter and the way she handled the communication.
“That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision,” Feinstein said.
According to Ford’s letter, she had attended a house party with Kavanaugh and others at a Maryland home in the ’80s. Ford alleged that Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom along with another male companion. Kavanaugh then allegedly locked the door, put on loud music to muffle any sound, and reportedly attempted to remove her clothing.
Ford said that Kavanaugh and his male friend were drunk and laughing. At one point, Ford said that Kavanaugh placed his hand over her mouth to keep her from crying out. She later revealed that she thought he might inadvertently kill her during the alleged interaction.
The other male reportedly jumped on Kavanaugh at one point, and she was able to free herself. She reportedly left the party and went home. All three parties were minors when the alleged incident occurred.
Ford, now 51, said she believes that the alleged incident led her to develop anxiety and PTSD.
What did Kavanaugh say?
In a Friday statement, Kavanaugh denied Ford’s accusations.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh said.
In a statement Friday from the White House, spokesperson Kerri Kupec said, “Throughout his confirmation process, Judge Kavanaugh has had 65 meetings with senators — including with Sen. Feinstein — sat through over 30 hours of testimony, addressed over 2,000 questions in a public setting and additional questions in a confidential session. Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him.”
On Friday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a letter that was signed by 65 women who knew Kavanaugh while in high school.
A portion of the letter read, “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.”
What did Feinstein say?
On Sunday, Feinstein said that the FBI should conduct a thorough investigation before the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
In a statement, Feinstein said, “I support Mrs. Ford’s decision to share her story, and now that she has, it is in the hands of the FBI to conduct an investigation. This should happen before the Senate moves forward on this nominee.”
What’s happening now?
During Monday’s “CBS This Morning,” Debra Katz, the attorney representing Ford, said that her client would be willing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in an attempt to prove her allegations are valid.
“My client will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story and the full set of allegations to allow them to make a fully informed decision. She’s willing to do what she needs to do,” Katz said.
On Monday, Kavanaugh fired back with his own statement, and proclaimed that he would also be willing to testify.
“I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday,” Kavanaugh said, according to a New York Times report Monday.
White House spokesperson Kupec also issued a Monday statement, which read, “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.”
Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Donald Trump, said that she had spoken with the president and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and that the woman “will be heard.”
“We hope that this hearing is fair and not another weaponized attack on a woman who has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against a powerful man,” Katz told the Times.