Christine Ford accepts Senate invitation

USA TODAY

Published 1:49 PM EDT Sep 23, 2018

Christine Ford accepts Senate invitation

Amid contentious and largely public negotiations, Christine Blasey Ford's attorneys said Sunday that their client is "committed to moving forward with an open hearing on Thursday" where Ford will testify about her sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

"We made important progress on our call this [Sunday] morning with Senate Judiciary Committee staff members," said Ford's lawyers Debra Katz, Lisa J. Banks and Michael R. Bromwich on Sunday. "We committed to moving forward with an open hearing on Thursday Sept 27 at 10:00 am. Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her." 

Although they said "a number of important procedural and logistical issues remain unresolved," the attorneys said those remaining hurdles "will not impede the hearing taking place." 

Ford had wished the committee to subpoena alleged witness Mark Judge and other potential witnesses, according to the email exchange between Ford's attorney and the committee. Another sticking point had been the proposal from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to use an outside counsel to question Ford during the hearing. 

On Saturday, Ford had tentatively agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee but the negotiations were still ongoing. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the issue of witnesses beyond Kavanaugh and Ford, and the use of outside counsel had been potential deal-breakers. 

Graham expressed skepticism about Ford's allegation during an interview on "Fox News Sunday." 

 "I don't know when it happened, I don't know where it happened. And everybody named in regard to being there said it didn't happen. I'm just being honest. Unless there's something more, no I'm not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh's life over this," Graham said. 

"But she should come forward, she should have her say. She will be respectfully treated," he added.

Sunday's agreement caps off a week of dizzying negotiations that have cast a spotlight on the California college professor's life and raised doubts about Kavanaugh's future on the nation's highest court.

Ford, 51, is a psychology researcher and professor at Palo Alto University in California. She alleges that Kavanaugh held her down and forcibly tried to remove her clothing at a party in 1982, when they were both in high school. 

Kavanaugh, 53, has strongly denied the allegation. 

Mark Judge, the friend who was allegedly in the room with Kavanaugh and Ford, denied having any recollection of the party. And in an email obtained by USA TODAY, a lawyer for a woman Ford also said was at the house said her client didn't know Kavanaugh and that she did not remember the party described by Ford. 

Contributing: Christal Hayes, USA TODAY

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