Donald Trump

4 Come Forward Vouching for Kavanaugh Accuser Ford

One friend of Christine Blasey Ford's said that, in the summer of 2016, she told him "she was assaulted in high school by a man who was now a federal judge in Washington, D.C."

Four people who know professor Christine Blasey Ford have signed sworn affidavits that say she previously told them about being assaulted by a federal judge when they were both teenagers, evidence meant to bolster her allegation that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school in the 1980s.

The affidavits from her husband and three friends have been submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford's legal team said, ahead of a Thursday hearing where she and Kavanaugh will be questioned about the allegation, which the Supreme Court nominee denies.

In addition, Ford's lawyers have provided the Senate Judiciary Committee with the results of a polygraph test on her accusation. The documents indicate the Ford took the test on Aug. 7 at a Hilton Hotel in Maryland.

Ford Legal Team

Ford has told The Washington Post she hired a former FBI agent to conduct the test as she considered whether to come forward with her accusation, and she's said she passed it.

The newly released documents seem to support her claim, but there's no independent expert verification.

Top Republicans are pushing to confirm Kavanaugh within a week, but Ford's allegation and those of two other women — including one who came forward Wednesday —  have jeopardized that effort — a few Republican senators have expressed reservations, and the party has a narrow majority in the Senate.

One friend of Ford's said that, in the summer of 2016, she told him "she was assaulted in high school by a man who was now a federal judge in Washington, D.C." She had been upset by the short sentence given to Brock Turner, a Stanford student who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman on campus.

The friend, Keith Koegler, said that she emailed him again in June 29, 2018, to say that her attacker was President Donald Trump's favorite to be nominated to the Supreme Court. When the friend asked her what his name was, she replied, "Brett Kavanaugh."

The two other friends say that Ford told her in 2013 and 2017 that she had been assaulted by a federal judge, though they didn't say Kavanaugh's name came up.

"She said that she had been almost raped by someone who was now a federal judge. She told me she had been trapped in a room with two drunken guys, and that she then escaped, ran away, and hid," said Adela Gildo-Mazzon in her affidavit. 

That is the story that Ford came forward with this month, during Kavanaugh's confirmation process. At the time, she said she'd told her husband during a 2012 couple's therapy session and offered the therapist's notes as evidence. Her husband's affidavit contains the same information.

Ford, 51, is a psychology professor in a consortium between Stanford and Palo Alto University. She went public with her account to The Washington Post, saying that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a Maryland house party in the early 1980s and tried to take her clothes off. He put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream, she said, and she feared he might inadvertently kill her. She said she was around 15 at the time and he would have been about 17.

Ford also said Kavanaugh's classmate Mark Judge was in the room for the alleged assault, but Judge has said he doesn't remember any such party.

Kavanaugh has vehemently denied sexually assaulting anyone and submitted pages from a calendar he kept in 1982 as evidence against Ford's allegation. He also denied the account of a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh caused her to touch his penis at a party when both were Yale freshmen.

He has also denied taking part in any gang rapes, but on Wednesday, Julie Swetnick came forward in a declaration released by her attorney Michael Avenatti to say that she saw Kavanaugh try to inebriate women at high school parties like one where she was raped. NBC News has reached out to Kavanaugh for comment on the allegation.

Ford and Kavanaugh are both set to testify Thursday, though not together, at a momentous Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. An Arizona prosecutor will handle the questioning, committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said. Resisting calls from Ford and Democrats, Grassley won't call other potential witnesses to testify.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell forecast that Republicans will "win" approval of Kavanaugh, though the confirmation remains uncertain in a chamber where Republicans have a scant 51-49 majority.

"I will be glued to the television," said Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, who has yet to declare how she will vote on confirmation.

Some Republicans have questioned why Ford's accusation only surfaced publically so late in the confirmation process. Ford was initially reluctant to come forward with the accusation, but passed it via Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., to the top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Diane Feinstein, in a letter dated July 30. Feinstein's referral of the letter to the FBI this month — Feinstein said she was seeking ways to honor Ford's privacy — eventually prompted Ford to go public.

President Donald Trump has asked that Ford bring forward proof that she filed charges against Kavanaugh at the time of the attack to corroborate it, comments that sparked stories on social media from sexual assault survivors across the country under the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.

Trump on Wednesday denounced Democratic efforts to block the confirmation as a cynical "con game" and praised Kavanaugh as "an absolute gem."

On Tuesday, Trump launched a dismissive attack on Ramirez, asserting that Kavanaugh's second accuser "has nothing."

Ramirez is willing to testify to the committee but hasn't been invited to do so, her attorney told the "Today" show Wednesday.

Hoping Thursday's hearing will yield no new surprises, the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled its own vote on Kavanaugh for Friday, and Republican leaders laid plans that could keep the full Senate in session over the weekend and produce a final showdown roll call soon after — close to the Oct. 1 start of the high court's new term.

Given that the Judiciary Committee's GOP members are all male, McConnell said the panel was hiring a "female assistant" to handle the questioning for Republicans "in a respectful and professional way." Grassley, R-Iowa, identified Mitchell in a press release late Wednesday, describing her as "a career prosecutor with decades of experience prosecuting sex crimes."

"My gut is they're trying to avoid a panel of all white guys asking tone-deaf questions," said Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

Each senator on the 21-member panel will be allowed five minutes to ask questions, said committee spokesman Taylor Foy. That's a tight rein for such a major hearing.

Meanwhile, the Republicans were still assessing what Kavanaugh's Monday interview on the Fox News Channel — an unusual appearance for a Supreme Court nominee — indicates about how he would perform in Thursday's hearing.

Kavanaugh's accounts of his behavior in high school and college have faced intense scrutiny, with some of his former classmates coming forward to challenge his claims and others continuing to attest to his character. 

Fellow former students have also spoken out in defense of the integrity of Kavanaugh's two accusers. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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