Updated 1:46 p.m.
Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault when they were high school students, told a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday that she was “100 percent” certain that the nominee sexually assaulted her at a social gathering in suburban Washington in the 1980s.
In a quavering, often emotional recounting of the alleged assault, Ford said her strongest memory was the “uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.” Ford contends Kavanaugh attacked her in a room, where a friend, Mark Judge, was also present. Judge has denied any recollection of the alleged attack. “They were laughing with each other,” Ford testified Thursday.
During the hearing, Ford, a research psychologist in California, sometimes used the language of how memory is implanted on the brain to explain the clarity of her memories under questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona sex crimes prosecutor who was hired by Republican senators to conduct questioning on their behalf. Ford appeared with her lawyers Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich, who said they are serving pro bono.
Mitchell has used her questions to probe the accuracy of Ford’s memory of the alleged sexual assault. Democrats on the committee have said Ford’s recollection of the incident has been consistent, and that she had nothing to gain by bringing forward her claims against Kavanaugh. Ford said she came forward with claims out of a sense of “civic duty.”
Mitchell at one point probed Ford about who paid for a polygraph test that she took in recent weeks.
Katz of Washington’s Katz Marshall & Banks, sitting next to Ford, leaned in to the microphone, telling Mitchell she’d put an end to the questioning: Ford’s lawyers paid for the polygraph. Bromwich asserted moments later: “As is routine.”
Kavanaugh, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has adamantly denied the alleged sexual assault. Kavanaugh is scheduled to testify later today.
Before Ford’s testimony began, committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, continued to spar over whether the majority should have asked for an FBI investigation into Ford’s allegations and claims by two other women who came forward this week with sexual misconduct allegations involving Kavanaugh.
The judiciary committee has scheduled a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday.