ARE THERE MORE?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 27, 2018) — On Tuesday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that they had hired Rachel Mitchell, an experienced sex-crimes prosecutor with expertise in hard-to-prove crimes from Maricopa County, AZ, to pose questions to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when he was 17 and she 15 in 1982.
Ford’s accusation was made public in a September 16, 2018 article in The Washington Post.
After much back-and-forth between Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ford’s legal team, public testimony was scheduled for both Ford and Kavanaugh for Thursday, September 27. Mitchell asked Ford all of the questions on behalf of committee Republicans, while Democrats chose to ask their own questions in five-minute allotments as set by Grassley.
Ford testified between approximately 10:25 a.m. EDT and 2:15 p.m. with several short breaks, and Kavanaugh began his testimony at approximately 3:05 p.m., ending at 6:45 p.m. Neither was in the room when the other was testifying, and Kavanaugh, when asked, said he did not watch Ford’s testimony.
While some criticized Mitchell’s strategy and line of questioning, which arguably appeared mundane and meandering at times, the results revealed at least eight discrepancies in Ford’s public narrative as reported in the media prior to Thursday:
- Ford’s alleged fear of flying has not prevented her from traveling to Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Asia to pursue what was characterized as her “hobbies” as well as from California to the East Coast to visit her parents every summer. Ford said that on the day she attended her grandmother’s funeral on August 7, she took an airplane from Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport to Manchester, NH for personal reasons, then returned to California after her time there. Contrary to media reports, the delay in her testimony from Monday to Thursday was not necessitated by her plan to travel cross-country by car rather than by air.
- After Mitchell asked Ford who compensated the polygraph examiner administering her test on August 7 prior to her leaving for Manchester, she said she “didn’t know yet.” Attorneys Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich then spoke for her, stating that they paid for it (“as is standard,” Bromwich added).
- Ford said she did not know how her legal bills were being paid nor what her retainer/compensation agreement is with her attorneys. After Ford said she believed that “part of” her attorneys’ work was being performed on a pro bono basis, Bromwich quickly consulted with Katz, then told Mitchell that both he and Katz’s firm are donating their time. Bromwich reportedly left his law firm to assist Katz and her colleague Lisa Banks at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP.
- According to Ford, the office of committee ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein recommended Katz to Ford after Feinstein and Ford spoke on the phone regarding Ford’s July 30, 2018 letter in which she claimed that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her 36 years ago. Whether or not that interaction constitutes a Senate ethics violation is a topic for further investigation.
- Feinstein claimed that she did not leak Ford’s letter, yet Ford described a myriad of reporters descending outside her home, calling her at home and at work, and entering the classroom while she was teaching. When pressed, Feinstein was unable to say how Ford’s contact information was leaked to the press.
- According to Mitchell, there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault allegations in Maryland, where the incident reportedly occurred. Therefore, Ford could still file a police report with town or county authorities.
- Although Ford said she wanted anonymity indefinitely, she told Mitchell that she contacted The Post’s tipline on July 6 and interacted with a reporter through text-messaging and an interview. She also told Mitchell that she had preferred to pursue congressional channels to convey her information yet contacted the paper well before writing the letter to Feinstein and before speaking with her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo.
- Ford said she contacted Eshoo’s office first but “didn’t know how” to contact either of her U.S. senators or anyone in Congress’s upper chamber.
- After Mitchell asked Ford about the possibility of “exculpatory” evidence arising if an FBI investigation were to be conducted, Ford, who reportedly has a Bachelor’s degree, two Master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, said she did not know the meaning of the word.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.