The outside counsel appointed by Senate Judiciary Republicans to ask questions during a hearing Thursday regarding the sexual assault allegation that California professor Christine Blasey Ford has pinned on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, says no “reasonable prosecutor” would bring criminal charges against the judge.
In a five-page memo, which stresses that this was not a trial but rather a job interview, sent to Senate Republicans and obtained by the Washington Examiner, Arizona county sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell said, “A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that.”
“Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them,” she said of Ford’s testimony. “For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.”
Although Ford said she was “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, the memo lists instances in which Ford was unable to offer a consistent account on descriptive elements of the night in the early 1980s that she alleges she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party in Maryland while he was 17 and she was 15.
The memo also notes how Ford’s claim had not been corroborated by anyone she identified as attending that party, including her friend Leland Keyser, and states that Ford has been inconsistent in more recent recollections, including her interactions with the Washington Post, which first identified her publicly.
The memo additionally casts doubt on Ford’s description of the psychological impact of the alleged incident, saying it “raises questions.”
Following the hearing Thursday, which also included emotional testimony from Kavanaugh disputing not only Ford’s allegation, but also the sexual misconduct allegations brought forth by two other women, the committee voted 11-10 in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination.
But momentum in the confirmation hit a speed bump when Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., led a push with some fellow Republicans to address lingering concerns about an incomplete inquiry the allegations leveled against Kavanaugh by Ford and another woman, Deborah Ramirez, before a Senate votes on a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.
Under pressure from members of his own party, President Trump authorized a supplemental FBI investigation Friday, which must be completed by the end of the week. However, Democrats are already complaining that the inquiry is too limited in scope, which prompted Trump to lash out Sunday, tweeting, “For them, it will never be enough – stay tuned and watch!”
The FBI is also planning to interview three potential witnesses tied to the Ford allegation: Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s high school classmate who Ford alleges was in the room when she was groped, and two other people who were said to have attended the same party – Keyser and P.J. Smyth. Ford herself had not been contacted by the FBI as of Sunday evening, according to ABC News.
At the end of her memo, Mitchell says “the activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account.” A four-page timeline followed.
A number of Republicans, including Trump, have accused Democrats of leaking a letter Ford wrote about the allegation to the media at a politically opportune time. Trump mocked Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, at a rally in West Virginia on Saturday for saying last week her staff did not leak a confidential letter Ford sent her local congresswoman, Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., in July.
Ryan Grim, the journalist from the Intercept who first reported on the letter, said on Twitter last week that he did not receive it from Feinstein’s staff.
Trump said he hoped an FBI probe into Ford’s claims uncovers who leaked the letter to the press.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed Sunday to launch a thorough inquiry into Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to find out whether there was any wrongdoing in how they managed the sexual misconduct allegation Christine Blasey Ford leveled at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.