A woman who has accused President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault will present senators with sworn statements from four people to corroborate her allegations, her lawyers said on Wednesday.
The declarations, first reported by USA Today, include signed documents from Christine Blasey Ford’s husband and three friends that her lawyers sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The panel is scheduled to hold a hearing on Thursday on the accusations, ahead of a Friday vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
If the panel approves, Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge, his nomination then must win confirmation from the full Senate, which Republicans narrowly control 51-49. That vote could happen as early as Tuesday, senior Senate Republicans have said.
Ford’s accusation, along with one from a second woman, have imperiled Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court as Republicans work to shore up his Senate confirmation ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections in which Democrats seek to take control from conservatives.
Ford, a university professor in California, has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982 when they were high school students in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has accused him of sexual misconduct when she and Kavanaugh were students at Yale University.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and took his defense public this week in an interview on Fox News.
His attorney, Beth Wilkinson, in televised interviews on Wednesday, said Ford’s declarations cited recent interactions, not discussions at the time of the alleged incident. She said Thursday’s hearing was not about Kavanaugh’s behavior as a youth.
“I don’t think there’s any dispute that he drank when he was in high school and when he was in college but that’s not the issue here,” Wilkinson told CNN.
Senators will hear both sides at Thursday’s hearing, keenly aware of the impact it could have on voters, particularly women, against a backdrop of the #MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault.
Republican Trump, who also has been accused of sexual misconduct, intensified his defense of Kavanaugh on Tuesday and called the allegations “a con game being played by the Democrats.”
Trump also spoke out directly against the two accusers, saying on Tuesday Ramirez “had nothing.”
Ramirez’s lawyer, John Clune, said in interviews on NBC and CBS on Wednesday that she has not been invited to speak to senators but likely would be willing to appear.
The Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday it had hired a female lawyer to question Ford on behalf of the 11 Republicans on the panel, all men. The decision prompted an outcry from Democrats, whose 10 panel members include four women, given that senators typically do the questioning themselves.
Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona, will conduct the questioning, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“I don’t know that this will be a discussion of the truth as much as it will be an analysis of the memory,” Republican Senator John Kennedy, a panel member, told MSNBC on Wednesday.
Reporting by Susan Heavey, Sarah N. Lynch and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Trott
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