Fighting back tears, Christine Blasey Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in an opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I am here today not because I want to be,” said Ford, reading in a trembling voice from a prepared statement. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”
Ford went on to describe a house party in the early 1980s when a drunken Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her in a bedroom, with his friend Mark Judge in the room. Ford said she escaped after she and Kavanaugh tumbled off the bed.
Kavanaugh has denied the accusation, and Judge said via an attorney that he had no memory of the alleged incident.
“During my time at the school, girls at Holton-Arms frequently met and became friendly with boys from all-boys schools in the area, including Landon School, Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga High School, country clubs, and other places where kids and their families socialized,” said Ford. “This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who sexually assaulted me.”
Ford detailed the alleged assault and how it has affected her life, including the threats she’s received since her identity became public. She insisted she was not a political operative, stating, “I am no one’s pawn” and said that she wanted the senators to hear her story before they voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
“When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room on the first floor of the house,” said Ford. “I drank one beer that evening. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk. Early in the evening, I went up a narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the bathroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them. There was music already playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room. I was pushed onto the bed and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding his hips into me. I yelled, hoping someone downstairs might hear me, and tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy. Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was so drunk, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothes. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They both seemed to be having a good time. Mark was urging Brett on, although at times he told Brett to stop. A couple of times I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.”
The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary committee — all white men — ceded their time to a female outside counsel to do the questioning. Kavanaugh was also scheduled to testify Thursday. In the room, most of the senators were listening intently, although Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., looked bored and annoyed. Graham has been outspoken in his belief that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Alex Nazaryen contributed reporting to this story from the hearing room
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