Kavanaugh Accuser's Lawyer: Client Willing to Testify Publicly

September 17, 2018

Debra Katz, attorney of Christine Blasey Ford, told NBC's "Today Show" Monday her client was prepared to testify before Congress about her allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

When asked about the nature of the allegation, Katz said Ford "clearly considers this an attempted rape." The assault, according to Ford, occurred when she and Kavanaugh were high school students.

A professor of psychology at Palo Alto University, Ford claimed Kavanaugh and a classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, both "stumbling drunk," locked her in a room during a party in Maryland in the early 1980s, the Washington Post reported. Ford has named two other people she says were present at the party in addition to Kavanaugh and Judge, neither of whom responded to messages from the Post on Sunday. She claims Kavanaugh "physically pushed" and "tried to disrobe" her in front of his friend, before she ultimately escaped.

Katz declined to weigh in on whether Ford wanted Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination, but said the statements reflected his character. She also accused him of "not being forthcoming" since Ford’s allegations became public.

In an appearance on CNN’s "New Day" minutes later, Katz said no lawmaker had yet asked Ford to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions. "We’ve heard from no one; we’ve seen various statements made on television," Katz said. "No one’s asked her, no."

Katz blamed the press for forcing Ford to go public. Leaks of Ford’s letter, first sent to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.), "resulted in a great deal of pressure from members of the media who knew who she was," Katz said.

"[Members of the press] started invading her privacy, showing up at Stanford where she works, leaving her notes, emailing her and calling her," she added.

The Republicans’ slim majority in the Senate means any defections could stall Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

In a statement, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said he "would gladly listen to what [Ford] has to say," but if "the committee is to hear from Ms. Ford it should be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) said delaying the vote "might be something they might have to consider."

Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Arizona) was most explicit, saying that if Republicans make no effort to hear from Ford, then "I'm not comfortable voting yes."

Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) criticized the delay by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.)who first heard of the allegation from Ford in late Julyand others in making the allegation public. "What is puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this information for more than six weeks, have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge," Collins said.

Kavanaugh denied any wrongdoing last week, following initial reports about the accusation. "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation," Kavanaugh said. "I did not do this back in high school or at any time."

White House spokesman Raj Shah told ABC News, "As the story notes, we are standing with Judge Kavanaugh's denial."