Supreme Court Nominations
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her when both were high school students will be questioned Thursday by a longtime sex crimes prosecutor.
Rachel Mitchell of Maricopa County, Arizona, has been tapped to question Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, according to the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic and a press release.
Mitchell leads a division dealing with sexual assault and family violence cases. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery told the Post that Mitchell has a long history of investigating long-ago sex crimes and allegations that are difficult to corroborate. She has been a prosecutor since 1993.
Phoenix defense lawyer Tracey Westerhausen also told the Post that Mitchell is “a very nuanced and wise prosecutor” who “doesn’t pigeonhole defendants.”
Though Kavanaugh and Ford are the only witnesses slated for questioning, Ford’s lawyers have sent the committee sworn declarations from four people who say she talked to them about the alleged assault.
One declaration is by Ford’s husband and the other three are by friends, report USA Today and the Post in a separate story. All said Ford told them about the alleged assault before Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court.
One friend, Adela Gildo-Mazzon, said Ford told her in June 2013 that she had almost been raped when she was much younger by someone who is now a federal judge. Kavanaugh has sat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006.
Another friend, Keith Koegler, said that in 2016, he and Ford were discussing the light sentence given to Stanford swimmer Brock Turner for an attempted rape. Ford said the sentence made her particularly angry because she was assaulted in high school by a person who is now a federal judge in Washington, D.C.
Koegler said Ford identified the person who assaulted her as Kavanaugh in June, when Kavanaugh was considered a leading contender to replace retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
A third friend, Rebecca White, said Ford revealed in 2017 that she was assaulted as a young teenager by a man who is now a federal judge. Ford spoke about the incident after White had written a social media post about her own sexual assault, White said.
Ford’s husband, Russell Ford, said he had learned details about the assault during a couple’s therapy session in 2012, though she had previously mentioned the assault around the time of their marriage.