Backpedaling? Ford's Lawyer Sends a Letter to Grassley With Grave Concerns

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Posted: Sep 25, 2018 12:15 AM
Backpedaling? Ford's Lawyer Sends a Letter to Grassley With Grave Concerns

One of the attorneys for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Judge Brett Kavanaugh's first sexual assault accuser, sent a letter late Monday night to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley expressing concerns about the format of Thursday's hearings.

In his letter, attorney Michael Bromwich expressed concern over an experienced sex crimes prosecutor coming in to help with the hearings. More than anything, Bromwich immediately demanded a copy of the prosecutor's resume after arguing that there is no need for him or her to be present. His argument: neither Ford nor Kavanaugh are on trial. 

Bromwich also said Ford's team is not convinced that she will receive a "fair and credible" process because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Ford's accusations are a "smear campaign" put together by the Democrats as a means of keeping Kavanaugh from being confirmed.

Here's a copy of the letter:

Dear Chairman Grassley,

We write in response to the email sent by Michael Davis this afternoon and the letter from you that he included. 

We are finding it difficult to reconcile your letter and Mr. Davis' note with the Majority Leader's speech this afternoon on the Senate floor. As Dr. Blasey Ford has been clear since her experience was first made public, she came forward because she believes it is her civic duty to tell the truth about the sexual assault she experienced. She is coming to Washington at your invitation to share her experience with senators as they consider a lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court. You said in your letter that intend to provide a "fair and credible" process that provides Dr. Blasey Ford "fair and respectful" treatment. Yet earlier today the Majority Leader dismissed Dr. Ford's experience as a "smear campaign," claiming mistakenly that the witnesses' to the Committee constitute "a complete lack of evidence," implying that there has been a thorough investigation. This and statements he has made previously are flatly inconsistent with your letter.

The refusal of the White House to request that the FBI reopen Judge Kavanaugh's background check precluded a thorough non-partisan investigation of this matter. And the hearing plan that Mr. Davis described does not appear designed to provide Dr. Blasey Ford with fair and respectful treatment.

In our view, the hiring of an unnamed "experienced sex crimes prosecutor," as Mr. Davis described in his email, is contrary to the Majority's repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee's members to fulfill their constitutional obligations. It is also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a "circus," as well as Dr. Blasey Ford's repeated requests through counsel that senators conducted the questioning. This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate. Neither Dr. Blasey Ford nor Judge Kavanaugh is on trial. The goal should be to develop relevant facts, not try a case.

Mr. Davis's [sic] comparison of the hearing on Thursday to the Watergate or Iran-Contra hearings is disingenuous. As you know, neither occurred in the Judiciary Committee. The Watergate hearings were conducted by the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities; they lasted for months resulting in over 319 hours being televised. The Iran-Contra hearings were conducted by a joint committee of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and the Senate Selection Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition that lasted 41 days. The outside counsel hired to those Committees did not come on board to ask questions of witnesses three days before the hearings started. The central point is that there is no precedent for this Committee to bring in outside counsel for the sole purpose of shielding the members of the Committee from performing their responsibility to question witnesses. 

Mr. Davis still has not responded to a number of outstanding questions about the hearings, including an explanation of the role of the "experienced sex crimes prosecutor" in the Committee format. Please identify this person and ask your staff to send us her resume immediately. We respectfully request to meet with her tomorrow. We are available for a call with the Majority and Minority staff to discuss the remaining questions anytime.

Thank you for your consideration of these important matters. 

Very yours truly, 

Michael R. Bromwich

During an address on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh to be a Democratic "smear campaign." 

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“Democrats have signaled for months they’d put on whatever performance the far-left special interests demanded and throw all the mud they could manufacture. Well, it’s not like they didn’t warn us. But even by the far left’s standards, this shameful smear campaign has hit a new low," McConnell said during his address. 

“Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. That is where we are. This is what the so-called ‘Resistance’ has become. A smear campaign, pure and simple. Aided and abetted by members of the United States Senate," McConnell concluded.

According to Frank Thorp, an NBC News reporter, the GOP refuses to name the prosecutor.