The prosecutor who questioned Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, wrote in a memorandum that she found no inconsistencies in Ford's testimony about alleged sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell wrote that based on the information at hand, she would not recommend criminal charges against Judge Kavanaugh.
"I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee,” Mitchell wrote.
Mitchell, who has long experience prosecuting rape and sexual assault as a prosecuting attorney in Arizon, was hired by the committee to assist Republicans at the hearing. Addressing her letter to “All Republican Senators,” she wrote that no senator approved the memo. She also noted that she is a Republican, but said she is not a political person. The letter was released late on Sunday.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation appeared to be assured until Democrats belatedly leaked a letter written by Ford to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. In the letter, Ford, a California psychology professor, alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers at a house party sometime in the 1980s. Ford claimed that Kavanaugh held her down on a bed, attempted to strip her, and stifled her mouth. During hearings last week, Ford said she was "100 percent" certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker. On the same day, Kavanaugh vehemently reiterated his denials of the allegations.
In her letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, Mitchell called Ford’s accusation as a case of “he said, she said,” Mitchell said that the accuser’s case is “even weaker than that.” She pointed out what she said were timing inconsistencies in Ford’s account. Mitchell noted that Ford appeared to be confused about the timeline of the alleged assault, jumping from the “mid 1980s” to “early 1980s,” and then the “summer of 1982.” Mitchell wrote, “While it is common for victims to be uncertain about dates, Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the timeframe to a particular season and particular year.”
Mitchell wrote wrote that Ford has also been inconsistent in naming her attacker. She noted that Kavanaugh was not mentioned in notes recorded by Ford’s marriage therapist in 2012 nor in individual therapy in 2013. Key elements of the alleged attack are also fuzzy, Mitchell noted. Ford could not recall how she went to the party nor how she returned home; she does not remember the residence where the supposed attack occurred. In addition, the story has not been corroborated by anyone Ford has identified as attending the party, including a “lifelong friend.”
Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., declared that he hired Mitchell because he sought a hearing that “is safe, comfortable and dignified” for both Ford and Kavanaugh. The “goal,” he said, of hiring Mitchell is “de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns.”
Conceding to Democrats’ demands, President Trump ordered the FBI to conduct a limited, one-week "supplemental" background investigation into Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh.
Mitchell did not address Kavanaugh's testimony in her statement. She did note that the Senate confirmation hearing was not a trial, and affirmed that her assessment is based on a legal context.
Excerpt from Mitchell's letter:
"Perhaps most importantly, she does not remember how she got from the party back to her house.
"Her inability to remember this detail raises significant questions.
"She told the Washington Post that the party took place near the Columbia Country Club. The Club is more than 7 miles from her childhood home as the crow flies, and she testified that it was a roughly 20-minute drive from her childhood home.
"She also agreed for the first time in her testimony that she was driven somewhere that night, either to the party or from the party or both.
"Dr. Ford was able to describe hiding in the bathroom, locking the door, and subsequently exiting the house. She also described wanting to make sure that she
did not look like she had been attacked.
"But she has no memory of who drove her or when. Nor has anyone come forward to identify him or herself as the driver.
"Given that this all took place before cell phones, arranging a ride home would not have been easy. Indeed, she stated that she ran out of the house after coming downstairs and did not state that she made a phone call from the house before she did, or that she called anyone else thereafter.
"She does, however, remember small, distinct details from the party unrelated to the assault. For example, she testified that she had exactly one beer at the party and was taking no medication at the time of the alleged assault. "
As a coda to her letter, Mitchell wrote:
"Dr. Ford’s description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions."
"She maintains that she suffers from anxiety, claustrophobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account."