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UPDATED: Christine Blasey Ford agrees to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has accepted an invitation to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, to provide testimony about her alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, her lawyers said.

The decision is the culmination of a week-long back and forth between the California professor and top Republicans on the committee. Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had previously given Ford a deadline of 10 p.m. Friday to respond to his offer for her to testify, but later extended it to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Initial reports said she had agreed to appear before the committee on Wednesday, but subsequent news stories Saturday, including in The Washington Post, said she is still in negotiations to give her testimony on Thursday. Talks between the two sides are to continue on Sunday, according to The Post.

Ford, who also goes by “Blasey” professionally, says Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a house party in early 1980s, when the two were teenagers. She first outlined her claims this past July in a confidential letter to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the committee. She came forward publicly earlier this week, giving an interview to the Washington Post. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Responding to Grassley’s offer, Ford’s lawyers said she was prepared to “provide her firsthand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week.”

Her legal team also criticized the committee for the way it has handled her claims, saying the conditions under which she was being forced to testify were “fundamentally inconsistent with the committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation.”

“We are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process, we are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details,” the lawyers wrote.

Ford had previously offered to testify before the committee at a later date next week, but was rebuffed by Republicans, including Grassley and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who want to push Kavanaugh’s nomination through as quickly as possible. Grassley threatened to hold a confirmation vote Monday if Ford’s lawyers did not accept his offer to testify earlier.

He took to Twitter to vent his frustration.

“Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story,” Grassley tweeted Friday night.

“Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u.”

In a follow-up tweet, he proceeded to apologize to Kavanaugh for the delay.

“Judge Kavanaugh I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w the statement she made last week to testify to the senate,” he wrote. “She shld decide so we can move on I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive.”

Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, has criticized Grassley for  creating “unwarranted” anxiety and stress in his handling of the negotiations about her client’s appearance before the Judiciary Committee.

“The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr. Ford,” Katz wrote. “Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee is completely inappropriate.”

Since coming forward with her allegation, Ford has faced a slew of death threats and harassment, and has been forced to hire private security and go into hiding. According to the Washington Post, Ford’s email was also hacked and she has had to consider hiring a security detail to escort her children to and from school.

 

This story has been updated to reflect additional news reports Saturday which said Christine Blasey Ford is seeking to give her testimony on Thursday, while the Senate Judiciary Committee has offered her a Wednesday hearing date.


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