As of Monday, September 17, Christine Blasey Ford has not officially pressed any legal charges against Brett Kavanaugh, despite publicly accusing him of sexual assault in the 1980s.
Ford initially wrote an anonymous letter to her congressional representative, Anna Eshoo, explaining that she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were both in high school. That letter was then passed on to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who alerted the FBI.
Ford has since made her identity public, and multiple publications have connected her to well-known #MeToo lawyer Debra Katz.
In an updated statement, Kavanaugh said at the White House on Monday, “This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
Here’s what you need to know.
Ford Says She Initially Decided Against Making Her Identity Known, Then Changed Her Mind
According to The Washington Post, Ford initially reached out to the newspaper with a tip about Kavanaugh in early July, right after his nomination became known, and shortly after she reached out to Rep. Eshoo.
Ford initially decided not to put her name forward publicly after she enlisted the counsel of Debra Katz, who advised she take a polygraph with the FBI regarding her accusations. Still, though, she didn’t intend to put her name out publicly behind the accusations when it didn’t seem like Kavanaugh’s confirmation would be accepted. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” she said about deciding not to speak out.
But Ford’s name was soon leaked to several outlets, and she that when a BuzzFeed news reporter came to her home she knew she had to speak out about her identity.
“These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid,” she said, to The Washington Post. “Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation.”
Debra Katz Is Reportedly Representing Ford & Said Her ‘Client’ Would Do Whatever Is ‘Necessary’
When asked by the morning hosts of ‘CBS This Morning’ if Ford would feel comfortable testifying in front of the Senate, Katz replied on air, “My client will do whatever is necessary to make sure the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story and the full set of allegations to allow them to make a fully informed decision.”
Katz also defended her client’s decision to stay quiet about the accusation for so long; Ford only came out about her story in 2012 to a couples therapist with her husband.
Katz said, “She did not [tell anyone at the time]. And like many trauma victims, they try to put it away and go forward with their lives. And really, they try in their own heads to minimize it…that’s the context in which this came up, in couples therapy, where she disclosed this very traumatic event which she tried for decades to minimize it.”
Katz Has Confirmed That This Is Not a Politically Motivated Act by Ford
In another news interview with the Today Show, Katz said, “She knows what the truth is, and if he’s denying an event that she knows to be true, he is not telling the truth.”
When asked what she would say to those who are claiming this is a politically motivated act, Katz said, “I would say no one in their right mind, regardless of the motive, would want to inject themselves into this process and face the kind of annihilation that she will be subjected to by those who want this nominee to go through. This is not a politically motivated action. In fact, she was quite reluctant to come forward, and she was outed after she had made the decision not to come forward.”
Katz Has Classified Kavanaugh’s Behavior as ‘Attempted Rape’
Katz has now confirmed that she and Ford believe Kavanaugh’s actions to be that of attempted rape. Though they have not mentioned the intention of pursuing legal charges outside of Ford’s willingness to testify at a Senate hearing, it’s an important distinction to make if they were to move forward with a legal case.
There is legal precedent for cases about attempted rape, and the #MeToo movement has further shown that the effects of pressing charges against a man for sexual assault or misconduct accusations can have widespread effects outside of the legal world, with individuals losing their jobs, contracts and endorsements as a result of the accusations.
In this instance, it’s entirely possible that Kavanaugh could not have legal charges pressed against him, but still could fail to receive the 51 votes necessary from the Senate for Supreme Court appointment.
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