Rachel Mitchell, the prosecutor who questioned Christine Blasey Ford on behalf of Republican senators last week during an emotional hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a memo late Sunday detailing why no “reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Brett Kavanaugh given the “evidence” that exists against him.
“A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that,” Mitchell said, explaining the case’s “bottom line.”
Ironically, Mitchell’s language mirrors the vernacular of former FBI Director James Comey, who similarly argued in July 2016 that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.
The career Arizona prosecutor, who specializes in sex-related crimes, goes on to outline eight reasons why no “reasonable prosecutor would bring this case,” explaining the evidence fails to “satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.”
1. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened
Mitchell explained that initially Ford said the assault occurred in the “mid-1980s,” but later changed the date to the “early 80s.” But when she met with the polygraph administrator, Ford crossed out the word “early” for unknown reasons.
Ford has also described the incident occurring in the “summer of 1982” and her “late teens” — despite claiming it happened when she was 15.
“While it is common for victims to be uncertain about dates, Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the time frame to a particular season and particular year,” Mitchell said.
2. Ford has struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name
Mitchell explained Ford neither identified Kavanaugh by name during marriage counseling in 2012 or individual counseling in 2013. Ford’s husband claims she identified Kavanaugh in 2012, but Mitchell noted that Kavanaugh’s name was widely circulated as a potential Supreme Court pick should then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have won the presidency.
“In any event, it took Dr. Ford over thirty years to name her assailant,” Mitchell wrote. “Delayed disclosure of abuse is common so this is not dispositive.”
3. When speaking with her husband, Ford changed her description of the incident to become less specific
According to Mitchell, Ford told her husband before they married that she had been the victim of a “sexual assault,” but told the Washington Post that she told her husband she was a victim of “physical abuse.”
“She testified that, both times, she was referring to the same incident,” Mitchell said.
4. Ford has no memory of key details of the night in question — details that could help corroborate her account
- Ford does not remember who invited her to the “party, how she heard about it, or how she got there”
- Ford does not remember whose house the assault occurred or where the house is located with any specificity
- Ford remembers very specific details about that night that are unrelated to the assault, such as how many beers she consumed and whether or not she was on medication
Perhaps the most significant hole in Ford’s memory, Mitchell said, is the fact that Ford does not remember how she returned home from the party.
Factually speaking, the location of the party that Ford identified to the Washington Post is a 20-minute drive from her childhood home. And it was only during her testimony last week that she agreed for the first time that someone had driven her somewhere that night. Ford remembers locking herself in a bathroom after the alleged assault, but cannot identify who drove her home.
Significantly, no one has come forward to identify themselves as the driver.
“Given that this all took place before cellphones, arranging a ride home would not have been easy. Indeed, she stated that she ran out of the house after coming downstairs and did not state that she made a phone call from the house before she did, or that she called anyone else thereafter,” Mitchell said.
5. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as having attended — including her lifelong friend
As widely reported, Mitchell explained that each individual Ford identified as having been at the party has submitted sworn statements — under penalty of felony — that they do not remember the party and cannot recall or corroborate any detail that Ford alleges.
6. Ford has not offered a consistent account of the alleged assault
Ford claimed in her letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that she heard Kavanaugh and Mark Judge talking downstairs while hiding in a bathroom after the assault. But she testified that she could not hear anyone, and only “assumed” people were talking.
Meanwhile, Ford’s therapist’s notes show that she said there were four boys in the bedroom when she was assaulted. However, she told the Washington Post it was only two, and blamed the error on her therapist. Also, in Ford’s letter to Feinstein she said there were “me and 4 others” at the party. However, in her testimony, she said there were “four boys” at the party in addition to herself and Leland Keyser, her female friend.
Additionally, “Dr. Ford listed Patrick ‘PJ’ Smyth as a ‘bystander’ in her statement to the polygrapher and in her July 6 text to the Washington Post, although she testified that it was inaccurate to call him a bystander. She did not list Leland Keyser even though they are good friends. Leland Keyser’s presence should have been more memorable than PJ Smyth’s,” Mitchell said.
7. Ford has struggled to recall important recent events relating to her allegations, and her testimony regarding recent events raises further questions about her memory
Mitchell explained that Ford is unable to accurately remember her interactions with the Washington Post, such as what she told reporters or whether or not she provided them with a copy of her therapist’s notes.
Also of significance is Ford’s claim that she wished to remain confidential since she submitted her assault allegations to a person operating the Washington Post’s tip line. She testified that she did this due to a “sense of urgency,” claiming she did not know how to contact the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, she was unable to explain how she knew to contact the offices of Feinstein and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.).
Also, Ford cannot recall if she was recorded, via audio or video, during the administration of her polygraph, nor can she remember if the polygraph was administered on the same day as her grandmother’s funeral or the day after.
“It would also have been inappropriate to administer a polygraph to someone who was grieving,” Mitchell said.
8. Ford’s description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions
Ford testified that she suffers from anxiety, PTSD, and claustrophobia, which explains her fear of flying. However, she testified that she has flown many times in the last year, and flies on a regular basis for her hobbies and work.
Meanwhile, Ford testified that the assault affected her academically in college. However, she never claimed it affected her in high school after the assault allegedly occurred.
“It is significant that she used the word ‘contributed’ when she described the psychological impact of the incident to the Washington Post. Use of the word ‘contributed’ rather than ’caused’ suggests that other life events may have contributed to her symptoms. And when questioned on that point, said that she could think of ‘nothing as striking as’ the alleged assault,” Mitchell explained.
Finally, Mitchell said the “activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account.”
See Mitchell’s timeline below:
Here’s the “timeline” referred to in Mitchell memo: pic.twitter.com/mhY3Dif8bD
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) October 1, 2018