Sep 16, 2018

Kavanaugh accuser comes forward, details alleged sexual assault

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The woman who sent a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein earlier this year accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school during the early 1980s has spoken publicly for the first time to The Washington Post.

The big picture: Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, told the Post that she decided to come forward because she felt her "civic responsibility" began "outweighing [her] anguish and terror about retaliation." Ford does not remember all of the details of the alleged incident — such as the exact time or location — but says she took a lie detector test administered by a former FBI agent in August, which determined she was telling the truth when she said her account of that night was accurate.

The details:

  • Ford claims that during a house party one summer — she believes it was 1982, when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17 — Kavanaugh and one of his friends corralled her into a bedroom, where he allegedly pinned her down, groped her, and clumsily attempted to pull off her clothes while intoxicated.
  • Ford said when she tried to scream, Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth: "I thought he might inadvertently kill me," she told the Post. "He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing."
  • She said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh's friend jumped on top of them and knocked them all to the floor.
  • Ford didn't tell anyone about the incident in any detail until 2012, when she discussed it during a visit to a couples therapist with her husband. Portions of the therapist's notes were reviewed by the Post and show Ford described being attacked by boys from an elite private school, though she does not mention Kavanaugh by name.

The White House sent the Post a statement issued by Kavanaugh last week after the allegations were first reported: "I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time."

  • Both Kavanaugh and the White House had no further comment about Ford's specific on-the-record allegations after requests from the Post.

The bottom line: What was previously an anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh is now backed by a name, a detailed account, and on-the-record quotes.

Go deeper

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Venice Beach in Los Angeles on May 24. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks against the coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Driving the news: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, authorities on Florida's Gulf Coast closed parking lots because they were full and there were crowded scenes at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri, per AP, which reports a shooting injured several people at a packed Daytona Beach in Florida.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.