LexingtonKavanaugh and #MeToo

LexingtonKavanaugh and #MeToo
Women who signed letter rallying for Kavanaugh now facing scrutiny
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh listens during his U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018.

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 – A lawyer for the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault told a Senate panel the professor would be willing to testify next week if it provides “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety,” an email obtained by U.S. media on Thursday showed.

With Kavanaughs confirmation in the balance, it remained unclear whether Christine Blasey Ford would appear at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set for Monday, to which both were invited. Panel Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has told Fords attorneys that the panel was giving the California psychology professor until 10 a.m. Friday to submit a biography and a prepared statement "if she intends to testify."

READ MORE: Kavanaugh accuser faces death threats while politician urges men to just shut up and step up

Ford lawyer Lisa Banks said in a statement late Wednesday that Ford would co-operate with a thorough, nonpartisan probe. After indicating earlier this week that she would appear before lawmakers, Ford wants other witnesses — not just Ford and Kavanaugh — to participate and wants the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Those demands have been backed by Democrats but dismissed by top Republicans.

Video: Kavanaugh accuser open to testifying next week

Kavanaughs accuser willing to testify under certain conditions: e-mail

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, has been given a Friday deadline to decide whether to testify before the Judiciary Committee, but Republican lawmakers and the accuser remained locked in a high-stakes standoff over whether she will appear.

The email from Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, was reported on by the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN.

Moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whos had her share of clashes with Trump, said she hoped Ford would reconsider a decision not to testify and "its not fair to Judge Kavanaugh" if she refuses. "Otherwise, there are these very serious allegations hanging over the head of a nominee who has emphatically denied them," she said on radio WVOM in Bangor.

“As you aware, she’s been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home,” Katz wrote to the committee staff, according to the Washington Post. “She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety.”

“A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event,” according to the email.

Republicans say theyve tried to accommodate Ford, offering to let her testify in public or private and suggesting that committee aides would travel to her California home to take testimony. Kavanaugh, currently a judge on the powerful District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, has denied her allegation.

Kavanaugh, the conservative federal appeals court judge nominated by Trump in July for the lifetime job as a Supreme Court justice, also has been invited to testify on Monday.

Chuck Grassley, the committee’s Republican chairman, on Wednesday sent a letter to Ford’s lawyers giving her until 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Friday to submit prepared testimony if she intended to show up on Monday.

Through her attorneys, Ford left her attendance at Mondays hearing in doubt. And despite Grassleys schedule, it remained unclear if that hearing would occur without her, as a drama that has riveted Washington since emerging a week ago was injected with a fresh burst of election-season suspense.

A group of about 40 protesters, most of them women, clogged the lobby of Grassley’s Senate office on Thursday. Many wore buttons with the words “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.”

They asked to speak to Grassley and were told the senator is in Iowa, according to Marcie Wells of Las Vegas, a member of the Women’s March organization that has been outspoken in opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination.

WASHINGTON — Democrats accused Republicans Thursday of using roughshod tactics against the woman who is accusing Brett Kavanagh of a decades-old sexual attack as Republicans forged ahead in their drive to push his Supreme Court nomination through the Senate.

Ford has said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982 when both were high school students in Maryland, an allegation Kavanaugh has called “completely false.”

Her lawyers said on Tuesday she would testify before the committee only if the FBI first investigated her allegation. The FBI has said it is not investigating, a decision backed by Republicans.

Republican leaders trying to keep GOP senators behind Kavanaugh are offering Ford a chance to describe her allegation, either in a hearing room before television cameras or in private. Republicans have largely stood by Kavanaughs denials.

The confirmation fight has unfolded just weeks before Nov. 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are seeking to take control of Congress from the Republicans. Kavanaugh’s confirmation would solidify conservative control of the Supreme Court and further Trump’s goal of moving the high court and the broader federal judiciary to the right.

Trump and Senate Republicans have been emphatic that an FBI renewal of its background checks on Kavanaugh wont happen, saying an investigation by committee staff — which Democrats are boycotting — is sufficient.

Video: Christine Blasey Ford wants FBI to investigate her allegation against Kavanaugh

Trump’s fellow Republicans appear to be counting on her failure to quickly agree to testify on Monday as a boost for Kavanaugh’s confirmation chances. The Senate is narrowly controlled by Republicans, who have embraced the idea of a quick vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination if Ford does not to testify.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Democrats demands for an FBI investigation were a ploy to delay a confirmation vote and said the Judiciary committee should vote on Kavanaugh "as soon as possible."

Ford came forward with the allegation in an interview published in the Washington Post last Sunday. She accused Kavanaugh of attacking her and trying to remove her clothing while he was drunk at a party when he was 17 years old and she was 15.

Democrats, who opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation even before Ford’s allegation surfaced, pressed ahead with demands for an FBI investigation.

There were signs the GOP moves were keeping possible Republican defections in check. The party controls the Senate 51-49 and the Judiciary panel by 11-10, so it cannot afford GOP "no" votes.

“For this to be a fair, deliberate and open process, we need to let the FBI do its job and allow agents to conduct a full investigation of the allegations bravely brought forward by Dr. Ford,” Democratic Senator Chris Coons wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

"If you have been assaulted or harassed by a powerful Republican man, you better not talk about it or youre going to pay a price," Murray said concerning Fords situation.

NEW YORK—It started as a series of phone calls among old high school friends and ended up embroiling 65 women in the firestorm over a sexual assault allegation that could shape the Supreme Court.

Democrats are casting Republicans as strong-arming a wronged woman, their eyes on a .MeToo movement that has caught fire and exploded the careers of dozens of male titans.

In a matter of hours, they all signed onto a letter rallying behind high court nominee and their high school friend Brett Kavanaugh as someone who “has always treated women with decency and respect.” And they signed up, whether they anticipated it or not, for becoming a focus of scrutiny themselves.

Kavanaugh was spotted at the White House Thursday, and allies say he is eager to address the accusation and will be prepared to address the committee Monday.

The powerful strength-in-numbers statement, offered to bolster Kavanaugh’s denial of a claim that he attacked a girl at a party during their high school years, has drawn questions from journalists, social media skeptics, even Hollywood figures.

How well did the women know him? How could a statement and 65 signatures come together so fast after outlines of the allegation first surfaced publicly? And after subsequently hearing the details and learning that his accuser was a woman some of them knew, do they stand by their declaration?

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Yes, say more than a dozen signers who have since spoken to The Associated Press or other media outlets.

The confirmation fight has unfolded just weeks before Nov. 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are seeking to take control of Congress from Trumps fellow Republicans. Kavanaughs confirmation would solidify conservative control of the Supreme Court and further Trumps goal of moving the high court and the broader federal judiciary to the right.

Video: Deadline set for Kavanaughs accuser

“Brett wouldn’t do that in a million years. I’m totally confident. That would be completely out of character for him,” said Paula Duke Ebel. She said she interacted with Kavanaugh hundreds of times while they were students in a close-knit constellation of single-sex Catholic schools around Washington in the 1980s.

Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, has been given a Friday deadline to decide whether to testify at a Judiciary Committee hearing planned for Monday, but Republican lawmakers and Ford remained locked in a high-stakes standoff over whether she will appear.

Christine Blasey Ford, 51, now a psychology professor in California, said a very intoxicated Kavanaugh cornered her in a bedroom during a party in the early 1980s. She said he pinned her on a bed, tried to undress her and clamped his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She escaped only when a friend of his jumped on the bed and knocked them all over.

As you are aware, she has been receiving death threats, which have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and she and her family have been forced out of their home. She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety, Katz wrote.

The letter was released the morning after the allegation first got wide public attention. The letter and its roster of supporters seemed to come at supersonic speed and out of the blue.

A lawyer for the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trumps U.S. Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault told a Senate panel the professor would be willing to testify next week if it provides terms that are fair and which ensure her safety, an e-mail seen on Thursday showed.

Women who organized and signed it say it was a rapid response by a social network that endures decades after they graduated. They say it was easy to mobilize: a chain of friends calling, texting and emailing friends from a Washington-area world where many still live and see each other.

Meanwhile, hundreds of alumnae of the secular private girls school that Kavanaugh’s accuser attended have signed a letter supporting her and calling for an investigation of her allegations.

One of the signers, Cristina King Miranda, tweeted Wednesday that the alleged attack “was spoken about for days afterward in school” and that Kavanaugh “should stop lying.” But in a Facebook post hours later, she said she had no firsthand knowledge of the matter and wouldn’t comment further amid a media “circus” and a barrage of interview requests.

For this to be a fair, deliberate and open process, we need to let the FBI do its job and allow agents to conduct a full investigation of the allegations bravely brought forward by Dr. Ford, Democratic Senator Chris Coons wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

While that letter is signed by a mix of Ford’s peers and students from before or after her time at her school, the letter backing Kavanaugh is from women who vouch that they knew Kavanaugh, now a federal appeals court judge, personally as a high school student.

The e-mail from Fords lawyer, Debra Katz, was provided by a Senate aide. In it, Katz told committee staff members she would like to set up a call later on Thursday to discuss the conditions under which Ford would be prepared to testify next week.

Several said they interacted with him extensively through sporting events, dances, parties and other socializing or the phone calls that occupied teenage weeknights in the pre-texting era.

Ford came forward with the allegation in an interview published in the Washington Post last Sunday. She accused Kavanaugh of attacking her and trying to remove her clothing while he was drunk at a party when he was 17 years old and she was 15.

One worked with him at a summer camp. A second sought his help with homework. Two dated him. Some still see him at social functions.

Twelve of Fords family members wrote an open letter, posted on Twitter on Wednesday by her niece, actress and singer Bridgit Mendler, referring to Ford as highly ethical and saying her honesty is above reproach.

At least one, though, hadn’t spent time or talked one-on-one with him but still felt comfortable attaching her name based on the social situations they shared.

They asked to speak to Grassley and were told the senator is in Iowa, according to Marcie Wells of Las Vegas, a member of the Womens March organization that has been outspoken in opposition to Kavanaughs nomination.

Others who signed declined to comment or didn’t respond to inquiries. The AP left messages for all 65.

Some have been taken aback by the attention. Many have stayed mum to avoid “the media frenzy,” signer Maura Kane told Fox News, the outlet of choice for several who have given interviews.

We believe that Chrissy has acted bravely by voicing her experience from the past, and we know how difficult this is for her. Chrissy is not someone who chooses to be in the spotlight, the letter said.

Julie DeVol told the AP she didn’t really anticipate the letter would provoke such intense interest, though she sensed Kavanaugh’s critics “would do anything” to delay his confirmation vote.

Kavanaugh, 53, seemed to be cruising toward that vote before the sexual misconduct allegation became public.

Dozens of protesters, most of them women, clogged the lobby of Grassleys Senate office on Thursday. Many wore buttons with the words I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Kavanaugh has called Ford’s allegation “completely false.” The Senate Judiciary Committee has invited him and Ford to testify at a hearing Monday, although Ford’s lawyers say she wants the FBI to investigate her allegation before she testifies.

Kavanaugh, the conservative federal appeals court judge nominated by Trump in July for the lifetime job as a Supreme Court justice, also has been invited to testify on Monday.

The Kavanaugh friend who she said was in the room at the party, conservative writer Mark Judge, has said he doesn’t remember any such incident.

Ford has said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982 when both were high school students in Maryland, an allegation Kavanaugh has called completely false.

When word of a high-school-era sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh emerged last Thursday afternoon, Meghan McCaleb and her husband, Scott, thought they and other high school friends of the nominee needed to speak out. Meghan McCaleb said she launched the letter-writing effort after discussing it with some of Kavanaugh’s former law clerks.

The Senate is narrowly controlled by Republicans, who have embraced the idea of a quick vote on Kavanaughs nomination if Ford does not to testify.

She said she contacted friends, who contacted more friends, and they had 65 signatures by the next morning.

A hearing on Monday is not possible and the Committees insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event, Katz said in the e-mail.

The rapid-fire response sparked a flare of tweets, including from actresses and liberal activists Debra Messing and Patricia Arquette, questioning how anyone could line up so many high school pals so quickly to speak up for someone they didn’t actually go to school with. McCaleb says the answer is simply “how strongly all of us believe in Judge Kavanaugh and his integrity.”

One of the four has yet to be publicly identified. Two others have said they have no recollection of any incident like the one described by Ford.

Some of the signers are conservative, such as podcaster and former Republican National Committee spokeswoman Virginia Hume. Others are Democrats.

Democrats, who opposed Kavanaughs confirmation even before Fords allegation surfaced, pressed ahead with demands for an FBI investigation.

“This has nothing to do with politics,” said one of the signers, Megan Williams. “It’s just about character.”

But it is also, inescapably, about whether they credit another woman’s account of sexual assault.

The question is sharpened by the #MeToo movement, which seeks to change what supporters see as a history of doubt and dismissal of women who speak up about sexual misconduct. The question also is all the more pointed for women who travelled a similar teenage social path as Ford, and in some cases met her along the way.

McCaleb said “I’m not certain” when asked on Fox News whether she believed Ford, a friend of a friend who went to the same local pool Ford did. “She alleges that she had this traumatic event, and I feel like it is not the Brett Kavanaugh that we know.”

Sharon Crouch Clark didn’t know Ford and feels fine about having signed the letter, notwithstanding the allegation.

“If it happened to her, that’s horrible,” Clark said. But she questions whether the incident occurred as Ford described it, noting that Ford said she was unable to recall certain details about the date, place and other aspects of the alleged attack.

“I feel like I would know all that,” said Clark, who socialized with Kavanaugh amid groups of friends at parties.

Women who signed the letter said they didn’t know about or recall the party Ford described, and they said her account of a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh didn’t jibe with their memories of a boy who drank some beer alongside them but never lost control or crossed a line with girls.

“There were kids who did act kind of crazy. … He just wasn’t that guy,” said Williams, who recalls hanging out with Kavanaugh mainly in groups but sometimes one-on-one. “He was the kid who always did the right thing.”

That’s why six dozen women were willing to put their names on that letter, said signer Missy Bigelow Carr, who worked at a summer camp with Kavanaugh and coached girls basketball against him as an adult.

“If there was any indication that he didn’t treat even one of us with respect or acted in a manner that disrespected girls/women,” she wrote in an email, “that would not be the case.”

NEW YORK—It started as a series of phone calls among old high school friends and ended up embroiling 65 women in the firestorm over a sexual assault allegation that could shape the Supreme Court.

In a matter of hours, they all signed onto a letter rallying behind high court nominee and their high school friend Brett Kavanaugh as someone who “has always treated women with decency and respect.” And they signed up, whether they anticipated it or not, for becoming a focus of scrutiny themselves.

The powerful strength-in-numbers statement, offered to bolster Kavanaugh’s denial of a claim that he attacked a girl at a party during their high school years, has drawn questions from journalists, social media skeptics, even Hollywood figures.

How well did the women know him? How could a statement and 65 signatures come together so fast after outlines of the allegation first surfaced publicly? And after subsequently hearing the details and learning that his accuser was a woman some of them knew, do they stand by their declaration?

Yes, say more than a dozen signers who have since spoken to The Associated Press or other media outlets.

“Brett wouldn’t do that in a million years. I’m totally confident. That would be completely out of character for him,” said Paula Duke Ebel. She said she interacted with Kavanaugh hundreds of times while they were students in a close-knit constellation of single-sex Catholic schools around Washington in the 1980s.

Christine Blasey Ford, 51, now a psychology professor in California, said a very intoxicated Kavanaugh cornered her in a bedroom during a party in the early 1980s. She said he pinned her on a bed, tried to undress her and clamped his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She escaped only when a friend of his jumped on the bed and knocked them all over.

The letter was released the morning after the allegation first got wide public attention. The letter and its roster of supporters seemed to come at supersonic speed and out of the blue.

Women who organized and signed it say it was a rapid response by a social network that endures decades after they graduated. They say it was easy to mobilize: a chain of friends calling, texting and emailing friends from a Washington-area world where many still live and see each other.

Meanwhile, hundreds of alumnae of the secular private girls school that Kavanaugh’s accuser attended have signed a letter supporting her and calling for an investigation of her allegations.

One of the signers, Cristina King Miranda, tweeted Wednesday that the alleged attack “was spoken about for days afterward in school” and that Kavanaugh “should stop lying.” But in a Facebook post hours later, she said she had no firsthand knowledge of the matter and wouldn’t comment further amid a media “circus” and a barrage of interview requests.

While that letter is signed by a mix of Ford’s peers and students from before or after her time at her school, the letter backing Kavanaugh is from women who vouch that they knew Kavanaugh, now a federal appeals court judge, personally as a high school student.

Several said they interacted with him extensively through sporting events, dances, parties and other socializing or the phone calls that occupied teenage weeknights in the pre-texting era.

One worked with him at a summer camp. A second sought his help with homework. Two dated him. Some still see him at social functions.

At least one, though, hadn’t spent time or talked one-on-one with him but still felt comfortable attaching her name based on the social situations they shared.

Others who signed declined to comment or didn’t respond to inquiries. The AP left messages for all 65.

Some have been taken aback by the attention. Many have stayed mum to avoid “the media frenzy,” signer Maura Kane told Fox News, the outlet of choice for several who have given interviews.

Julie DeVol told the AP she didn’t really anticipate the letter would provoke such intense interest, though she sensed Kavanaugh’s critics “would do anything” to delay his confirmation vote.

Kavanaugh, 53, seemed to be cruising toward that vote before the sexual misconduct allegation became public.

Kavanaugh has called Ford’s allegation “completely false.” The Senate Judiciary Committee has invited him and Ford to testify at a hearing Monday, although Ford’s lawyers say she wants the FBI to investigate her allegation before she testifies.

The Kavanaugh friend who she said was in the room at the party, conservative writer Mark Judge, has said he doesn’t remember any such incident.

When word of a high-school-era sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh emerged last Thursday afternoon, Meghan McCaleb and her husband, Scott, thought they and other high school friends of the nominee needed to speak out. Meghan McCaleb said she launched the letter-writing effort after discussing it with some of Kavanaugh’s former law clerks.

She said she contacted friends, who contacted more friends, and they had 65 signatures by the next morning.

The rapid-fire response sparked a flare of tweets, including from actresses and liberal activists Debra Messing and Patricia Arquette, questioning how anyone could line up so many high school pals so quickly to speak up for someone they didn’t actually go to school with. McCaleb says the answer is simply “how strongly all of us believe in Judge Kavanaugh and his integrity.”

Some of the signers are conservative, such as podcaster and former Republican National Committee spokeswoman Virginia Hume. Others are Democrats.

“This has nothing to do with politics,” said one of the signers, Megan Williams. “It’s just about character.”

But it is also, inescapably, about whether they credit another woman’s account of sexual assault.

The question is sharpened by the #MeToo movement, which seeks to change what supporters see as a history of doubt and dismissal of women who speak up about sexual misconduct. The question also is all the more pointed for women who travelled a similar teenage social path as Ford, and in some cases met her along the way.

McCaleb said “I’m not certain” when asked on Fox News whether she believed Ford, a friend of a friend who went to the same local pool Ford did. “She alleges that she had this traumatic event, and I feel like it is not the Brett Kavanaugh that we know.”

Sharon Crouch Clark didn’t know Ford and feels fine about having signed the letter, notwithstanding the allegation.

“If it happened to her, that’s horrible,” Clark said. But she questions whether the incident occurred as Ford described it, noting that Ford said she was unable to recall certain details about the date, place and other aspects of the alleged attack.

“I feel like I would know all that,” said Clark, who socialized with Kavanaugh amid groups of friends at parties.

Women who signed the letter said they didn’t know about or recall the party Ford described, and they said her account of a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh didn’t jibe with their memories of a boy who drank some beer alongside them but never lost control or crossed a line with girls.

“There were kids who did act kind of crazy. … He just wasn’t that guy,” said Williams, who recalls hanging out with Kavanaugh mainly in groups but sometimes one-on-one. “He was the kid who always did the right thing.”

That’s why six dozen women were willing to put their names on that letter, said signer Missy Bigelow Carr, who worked at a summer camp with Kavanaugh and coached girls basketball against him as an adult.

“If there was any indication that he didn’t treat even one of us with respect or acted in a manner that disrespected girls/women,” she wrote in an email, “that would not be the case.”