12:18, September 27 231 0 abajournal.com

2018-09-27 12:18:06
Ford testifies about assault, says ‘uproarious laughter’ from Kavanaugh and friend stands out

With her voice breaking at times, Christine Blasey Ford gave an opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about an alleged sexual assault by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a party she attended during the summer of 1982 when both were high school students.

In a statement largely tracking her prepared remarks, Ford said the party was a small gathering, and Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were there. When she went upstairs to use a bathroom, she was pushed from behind into a bedroom.

Kavanaugh and Judge locked the door behind them, and turned up the music playing in the background. Ford said she was pushed on the bed and Kavanaugh got on top of her. Kavanaugh was running his hands over her body, grinding into her and trying to take off her swimsuit, she said. She tried to yell, but Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming.

The hand over her mouth terrified her the most, she said. “It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.” Both Kavanaugh and Judge were laughing, and they both seemed to be having a good time, Ford said.

Judge jumped on the bed, and the second time they toppled over, so that Kavanaugh was no longer on top of her, she said. She ran into the bathroom and locked the door. After Kavanaugh and Judge went downstairs, Ford ran down the stairs and out the door.

In questioning that followed, Ford told U.S. Sen Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she has suffered post traumatic stress disorder-type symptoms since the assault that included anxiety and claustrophobia. During a remodeling of her home, she insisted on a second front door.

In the initial years after the assault, Ford said, she struggled academically and had a hard time forming relationships, especially with males.

Under questioning by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Ford said that what stands out about the incident is “the uproarious laughter” between Kavanaugh and Judge during the assault.

Ford told Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that she is “100 percent” sure that her attacker was Kavanaugh.

The Democrats questioned Ford on their own, while Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and other Republicans gave their questioning time to sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell of Maricopa County, Arizona.

In her initial questions, Mitchell asked Ford about her prior communications regarding the assault with the Washington Post and Feinstein, and whether she wanted to correct any of those statements.

Grassley said before Ford’s testimony that Mitchell would lead the questioning to avoid “grandstanding and chaos.” He said his staff had spoken with three people said to be at the party, and all had denied the events. Kavanaugh had also categorically denied the accusations, he said.