Tentative deal struck for Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavanaugh to publicly testify on Thursday

  • Christine Blasey Ford has tentatively agreed to publicly testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
  • Ford alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh denies the accusation.
  • The tentative deal comes after days of painstaking back-and-forth negotiations. Republicans originally wanted Ford to testify Monday, while Ford initially pushed for an FBI investigation.
  • In a statement Saturday night, the White House said four people Ford said attended the party have told the Senate Judiciary Committee that they didn’t know about the alleged assault.

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford struck a tentative agreement with lawmakers to have Ford publicly testify on Thursday about her sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, The New York Times reported.

The development comes after days of back-and-forth negotiations over the terms of the hearing. Ford’s lawyers informed the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier on Saturday that Ford was willing to testify next week, after lawmakers gave several deadline extensions for Ford to make a decision.

The deal to testify on Thursday was finally reached after a brief phone call Saturday night between Ford’s lawyers, and aides of Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s ranking Democrat, according to The Times.

Some details still need to be hammered out, including who will question Ford, The Times reported. Those terms are expected to be negotiated on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a high school party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh categorically denies the allegations.

Ford’s attorneys have also asked that the FBI investigate, but President Donald Trump and Republicans have resisted the request. Trump said the FBI is not interested in investigating Ford’s allegations, even though the FBI routinely conducts background checks on presidential nominees.

Ford’s representatives have repeatedly assailed Republican senators for negotiating in bad faith, though the expressed optimism on Saturday that the parties could reach an agreement.

In a letter to the committee’s counsel, Ford’s lawyers wrote, “Although many aspects of the proposal you provided via email … are fundamentally inconsistent with the Committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations, and we are disappointed with the leaks and the bullying that have tainted the process, we are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”

The White House released statements Saturday night saying four people Ford said were at the party have denied knowing about the alleged assault to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Brett Kavanaugh has been clear from the beginning-he categorically and unequivocally denies this allegation and is eager to testify publicly to defend his integrity and clear his good name,” White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, adding, “Kavanaugh remains ready, willing and eager to testify as soon as possible.”

In a letter to the committee cited by CNN on Friday night, Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, scolded the committee for taking what she called a “cavalier” attitude toward “a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the Committee.”

Grassley granted Ford’s legal team’s request for more time to decide, and then fumed about it in a series of tweets late Friday night. He initially gave Ford’s attorneys until Friday at 10 p.m. ET to respond to a request to have Ford testify to lawmakers. Ford’s attorney said, “our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make decision.”

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