Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday. After Ford finishes, Kavanaugh will be given a chance to testify. Before the hearing began, Ford and Kavanaugh released prepared statements.
What is Ford saying?
In her prepared testimony for the hearing, Ford repeated her allegations against Kavanaugh. Ford stressed that it was not her first choice to testify before the committee.
"I am here today not because I want to be," she wrote. "I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school."
Ford recounted the same story she has told several times before, describing how she remembered being at a party and having a drunk Kavanaugh push her into a bedroom and try to take her clothes off.
She also addressed why it took years before she told anyone about the incident.
Brett's assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details. I did not want to tell my parents that I, at age 15, was in a house without any parents present, drinking beer with boys. I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened. Over the years, I told very few friends that I had this traumatic experience. I told my husband before we were married that I had experienced a sexual assault. I had never told the details to anyone until May 2012, during a couples counseling session. The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed an extensive remodel of our home, and I insisted on a second front door, an idea that he and others disagreed with and could not understand. In explaining why I wanted to have a second front door, I described the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court and spoke a bit about his background. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.
Ford also talked about the threats that she and her family had received since she came forward. She said that after her personal information was posted online, they were forced to leave their home and "have been living in various secure locales, with guards."
She concluded by promising to do her "very best" to answer any questions posed at her during the hearing.
What is Kavanaugh saying?
In his own prepared statement, Kavanaugh denied Ford's allegations "immediately, unequivocally, and categorically." He called Ford's accusations, and those by the other women who have come forward, "false and uncorroborated."
Kavanaugh argued that these accusations weren't just a threat to his own nomination:
There has been a frenzy to come up with something — anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious — that will block a vote on my nomination. These are last-minute smears, pure and simple. They debase our public discourse. And the consequences extend beyond any one nomination. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country.
He also insisted that he would "not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process." He spoke about "vile threats of violence" that had been leveled against his family.
Kavanaugh denied sexually assaulting Ford or anyone else, but said that all accusations of sexual assault in any circumstance "must be taken seriously," and that "[t]hose who make allegations deserve to be heard."
He concluded by saying:
I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford. I never had any sexual or physical encounter of any kind with Dr. Ford. I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in some place at some time. But I have never done that to her or to anyone. I am innocent of this charge.