Kavanaugh accuser wants assault claim investigated before Senate hearing

Christine Blasey Ford wants the FBI to investigate her allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before she testifies to a Senate hearing, her lawyers have said.

Ms Ford is due to give evidence a Judiciary Committee hearing next week.

The lawyers wrote to the panel that Ms Ford wants to co-operate, but in the days since she publicly accused Mr Kavanaugh of the assault – when they were teenagers at a party 35 years ago – she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats”, and her family has relocated.

An FBI investigation “should be the first step in addressing the allegations”, wrote the lawyers for Ms Ford, who is now a college professor in California.

The development came after Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought over who should give evidence at the high-stakes hearing six weeks before major congressional elections.

The president has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Mr Kavanaugh.

If he ordered such a review, it would be likely to delay a confirmation vote until after the election. Republicans hope to have Mr Kavanaugh confirmed by October 1, the start of the next Supreme Court term.

In a tweet, Mr Trump wrote: “The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected President. I hope Republican Voters, and others, are watching, and studying, the Democrats Playbook.”

Republicans are suggesting Ms Ford will have just one chance to give evidence.

The Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, said an FBI investigation would have no bearing on Ms Ford’s evidence so “there is no reason for further delay”.

He said the committee offered her “the opportunity to share her story” in a public or a private hearing, or staff interviews, “whichever makes her most comfortable. The invitation for Monday still stands”.

Democrats complain that Ms Ford was not consulted before the hearing was announced. They also want more witnesses, hoping to avoid what they said would turn into a “he-said-she-said” moment.

The lawyers for Ms Ford predicted the hearing, as now scheduled, “would include interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds” that she is “mistaken” and mixed up.

But Democrats also said they were planning to attend the hearing even if Ms Ford did not show up.

- Press Association

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