California professor Christine Blasey Ford has agreed to testify before a Senate panel on Thursday morning about her sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, her lawyers said on Sunday.
The lawyers said they made “important progress” in a morning call with Senate Judiciary Committee staff members and agreed to the hearing even though the committee refused to subpoena Mark Judge, who Ford said witnessed the attack at a high school party, as well as others who she said were present.
“Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her,” said the statement from attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich.
“She has agreed to move forward with a hearing even though the Committee has refused to subpoena Mark Judge,” it said. “They have also refused to invite other witnesses who are essential for a fair hearing that arrives at the truth about the sexual assault.”
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had set a Saturday afternoon deadline for Ford to decide whether and how she will testify. Ford said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party 36 years ago, pinning her down and trying to take off her clothes, when she was 15 and he was 17.
Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge, has denied the allegations and said he would be willing to testify.
Her lawyers tentatively agreed to a hearing on Saturday and announced a definite answer after additional conversations on Sunday.
There are unresolved procedural and logistical issues, they said, including whether the committee’s Republican senators, who are all male, or staff attorneys would question her.
Republicans will be forced to walk a careful line in questioning Ford’s account without alienating female voters ahead of the November congressional elections.
President Donald Trump has defended his Supreme Court nominee and questioned why Ford did not report the incident to police.