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Kavanaugh Allegations Ignite Debate Over Decades-Old Claims

The woman who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her may be ready to testify – but not on Monday.

Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist in California, says the attack happened when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers. She called for an FBI investigation into her claim before she would agree to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But now, Ford’s attorney Debra Katz says Ford is open to testifying sometime next week if the committee agrees to certain conditions.

“As you are aware, she has been receiving death threats, which have been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and she and her family have been forced out of their home,” Katz wrote in an email obtained by The New York Times. “She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee’s insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event.” 

Judge Brett Kavanaugh discusses Roe v. Wade during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.Judge Brett Kavanaugh discusses Roe v. Wade during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

Meanwhile, as Washington, D.C., reels from Ford’s claim, a nationwide debate has ignited over how much weight should be given to an alleged teenage occurrence from more than 30 years ago.

“It would be a different situation if he said he didn’t remember, or to say he realized how much harm he did,” said Carolyn Shapiro, an associate professor of constitutional law at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. “But the conversation we’re having today is, is he telling the truth about something today? And that certainly should have an impact on his confirmation.”

Joe Morris, a partner at the law firm Morris and De La Rosa, said there will most likely never be enough information to determine the truth.

“If that’s the case, then the matter is going to be decided upon the basis of political calculations and members of both parties at the margins of their respective caucuses,” he said. “So it becomes a highly political question based on their calculations and how their votes in the committee or on the floor will affect their particular re-election prospects, most likely in this cycle or the next.”

Shapiro and Morris join Eddie Arruza in conversation.

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