For many Americans who watched the extraordinary Senate Judiciary hearing that was held on Thursday, the questions asked by Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were perhaps not what one might have considered penetrating enough to determine the truth about her allegations of sexual misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh when he was seventeen.
I acknowledge that hard-edged questions directed toward a woman who may have been psychologically traumatized by an alleged event 36 years ago would be perceived to be both politically and ethically insensitive. But the overall destructive magnitude of the charge is so great that I believe Ms. Mitchell’s questions should have been more probing of the alleged event itself.
The American people have a right to know as much as possible about that evening and at this point, only Dr. Christine Blasey Ford can give us any information at all about what took place in or around the Bethesda, Maryland area one evening in, what she believes, was the summer of 1982.
These fictional questions (in color and italicized) are interspersed with Dr. Ford’s actual testimony or between actual questions from the hearing participants.
So let us begin.
Citizen: Good morning Dr. Ford. I’ll begin my questioning from the standpoint that although this is Washington, D.C. and very little takes place here that doesn’t have political consequences, it is my hope you’ll agree that the gravity of this charge has such potential significance that eliciting the truth of what took place the evening of the alleged incident supersedes any such political ramifications.
My questions will attempt to find out what, if anything, took place between you and Judge Kavanaugh over three decades ago; to elicit more facts or to further stimulate your memory.
It is my hope that you’ll not take offense to these questions as I take you back to that night but consider them our effort to give the American people a full and complete hearing in helping them, and of course voting senators, determine which of these two competing recollections, they believe is most truthful. The fact that you have come forward and in fact are here today, leads us to assume that you want to tell your story with as much factual corroboration, emotion and conviction that you can summon.
Now please tell us your story and forgive me to occasionally interrupt to ask some questions to hopefully elicit additional detail about what you’ve just described.
FORD: Thank you, Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein, members of the committee. My name is Christine Blasey Ford. I am a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. I won’t detail my educational background since it has already been summarized. I have been married to Russell Ford since 2002 and we have two children.
Excuse me Dr. Ford but isn’t that a misrepresentation right off the bat? You just said you were a “research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.” But isn’t it correct that the state of California has no record of you ever having taken and passed the required state exams that would legally give you the official title of psychologist?
FORD: I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.
I have described the events publicly before. I summarized them in my letter to Ranking Member Feinstein and again in a letter to Chairman Grassley.
I understand and appreciate the importance of your hearing from me directly about what happened to me and the impact that it has had on my life and on my family.
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. I attended the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1978 to 1984. Holton-Arms is an all-girls school that opened in 1901.
During my time at this school, girls at Holton-Arms frequently met and became friendly with boys from all-boys schools in the area, including the Landon School, Georgetown Prep, Gonzaga High School, as well as our country clubs and other places where kids and families socialized. This is how I met Brett Kavanaugh, the boy who sexually assaulted me.
During my freshman and sophomore school years, when I was 14 and 15 years old, my group of friends intersected with Brett and his friends for a short period of time.
I had been friendly with a classmate of Brett’s for a short time during my freshman and sophomore year, and it was through that connection that I attended a number of parties that Brett also attended. We did not know each other well, but I knew him and he knew me.
How are you so sure he knew you? Did he know your name?
Who were some of the people you can recall who were at the parties both of you attended?
You mentioned that you both attended “a number of parties that Brett also attended.”
Can you give us the name of some of those places you do remember where you were both in attendance?
FORD: In the summer of 1982, like most summers, I spent most every day at the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland, swimming and practicing diving.
One evening that summer, after a day of diving at the club, I attended a small gathering at a house in the Bethesda area. There were four boys I remember specifically being there: Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, a boy named P.J., and one other boy whose name I cannot recall. I also remember my friend Leland attending.
If you can’t recall the home, how do you know it was in the Bethesda area?
Can you recall how you came to be invited to this gathering?
Was the person’s home more likely a closer friend of you or of Kavanaugh and Judge?
FORD: I do not remember all of the details of how that gathering came together, but like many that summer, it was almost surely a spur-of-the-moment gathering.
Did any of your close friends or classmates have parties that summer where beer was served to 15-year-olds? Or were most of the parties at the homes of older teens like Judge and Kavanaugh?
What was typical of your attendance at these parties that summer? Did you normally go by yourself or with a group of friends?
Did you come to this particular gathering with your friend, Leland, or by yourself?
FORD: I truly wish I could be more helpful with more detailed answers to all of the questions that have and will be asked about how I got to the party and where it took place and so forth. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t remember as much as I would like to.
We’re just trying to find some detail to any of the questions we’re asking. Though it was one of the most impactful, life-altering events of your life, you shared it with no one that night or for 30 years thereafter. Is that correct?
You mentioned there were four boys and one girlfriend in attendance. Is that all who were there? You just remember five people who were there?
FORD: But the details that — about that night that bring me here today are the ones I will never forget. They have been seared into my memory, and have haunted me episodically as an adult.
When I got to the small gathering, people were drinking beer in a small living room/family room-type area on the first floor of the house. I drank one beer. Brett and Mark were visibly drunk.
If you were still in your bathing suit from the afternoon, doesn’t it seem likely that you went directly to the gathering from the country club rather than going home first and remaining in your swimsuit?
But to reiterate, you don’t know how you got to this private home or if you went there with anyone?
FORD: Early in the evening, I went up a very narrow set of stairs leading from the living room to a second floor to use the restroom. When I got to the top of the stairs, I was pushed from behind into a bedroom across from the bathroom. I couldn’t see who pushed me. Brett and Mark came into the bedroom and locked the door behind them.
Did they run up the stairs to catch you at “the top of the stairs” or did them sneak up directly behind you noiselessly?
Was it an adult bedroom or a child’s? What, if anything, can you recall about it? Colors, decor, anything?
FORD: There was music playing in the bedroom. It was turned up louder by either Brett or Mark once we were in the room.
What was the music playing on? A radio, boombox? What?
Who turned it up? If Brett was holding you on the bed, wouldn’t it have had to have been Mark?
How long were you in the room before someone turned up the music?
FORD: I was pushed onto the bed, and Brett got on top of me. He began running his hands over my body and grinding into me. I yelled, hoping that someone downstairs might hear me, and I tried to get away from him, but his weight was heavy.
Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time, because he was very inebriated, and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit underneath my clothing.
Did you scream or make any noise at all during the time you were forcibly pushed into a bedroom and on to the bed but before Brett was actually on top of you?
You mentioned that they were laughing when they were in the bedroom. At anytime did you think it was some kind of joke and tell them to stop this? If not, why did you think it was an attempted rape
What clothes were you wearing over your one-piece bathing suit?
Where there any buttons or zippers? If they had either, did he unbutton your clothing or just try to rip it off?
Given the detail you’ve already provided, did he use one hand to cover your mouth and one hand to attempt take off your clothing?
FORD: I believed he was going to rape me.
I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from yelling. This is what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.
Other than trying to yell for help, did you attempt to fight him off or not? Did you strongly resist or fight back, meaning hit or scratch him, when you were worried you were going to suffocate?
FORD: Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a very good time.
So though both were drunk and Mark wasn’t physically involved in the attempt to remove your clothes, restrain you and cover your mouth, how drunk could Brett have been to handle all this?
If you were fighting, trying to scream and looking genuinely terrified, why do you think they were still laughing?
During the attack do you believe you scratched or hit either boy?
FORD: Mark seemed ambivalent, at times urging Brett on and at times telling him to stop. A couple of times, I made eye contact with Mark and thought he might try to help me, but he did not.
Was he still laughing as he ignored your terrified eyes?
FORD: During this assault, Mark came over and jumped on the bed twice while Brett was on top of me. And the last time that he did this, we toppled over and Brett was no longer on top of me. I was able to get up and run out of the room.
Why did Mark jump on the bed, to stop Brett, assist him or being drunkenly playful?
Do you think he may have been responding to your eye expression’s “call” for help? Did he jump next to you or on top of Brett?
FORD: Directly across from the bedroom was a small bathroom. I ran inside the bathroom and locked the door. I waited until I heard Brett and Mark leave the bedroom, laughing and loudly walk down the narrow stairway, pinballing off the walls on the way down.
Did they turn down the music when they left the bedroom.
Did they make any effort to get into the bathroom?
Did they try the door handle? Knock? Yell or say anything? Or did they just immediately give up and walk downstairs?
How do you think they could come up the stairs directly behind you so quietly and force you into a bedroom and on a bed before you knew what has happening but go back down “pinballing” or loudly bouncing off the stairway walls as you suggest?
Why didn’t you scream from the bathroom when the music was turned down and the people downstairs could hear you?
FORD: I waited, and when I did not hear them come back up the stairs, I left the bathroom, went down the same stairwell through the living room, and left the house.
Did you think about just opening the bathroom door and yelling for Leland to come up for you to walk down together?
Was it dark when you left the house or still light out?
Were you your clothes or hair disheveled when you left the house?
What did you say to Leland when you left? Wouldn’t she have found it odd that the only other girl at this party was suddenly seen leaving and looking terrified?
Did you ask anyone for a ride home or did you believe you were close enough to home to walk or run?
Why did you believe you were safer on the street alone than in the home with others?
Did you ever consider that you left your friend Leland alone in a home with four boys, two of whom tried to rape you?
FORD: I remember being on the street and feeling this enormous sense of relief that I had escaped that house and that Brett and Mark were not coming outside after me.
So you obviously kept looking back to see if you were being followed? Does this mean you must have been walking home since you were too young to drive and cannot recall being driven by anyone?
FORD: Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone these details. I did not want to tell my parents that I, at age 15, was in a house without any parents present, drinking beer with boys.
Approximately how many parties of this sort did you attend that summer?
(Dr. Ford later states that she was at four or five parties prior to this one where Brett Kavanaugh was present.)
Was this the last party like this you attended? If it was, what did you tell friends when they wanted you to attend one?
If it wasn’t, why would you place yourself in a similar situation? Did you try to find out in advance if Brett would be at any of them?
Was this the last event at which you ever saw Brett Kavanaugh?
FORD: I convinced myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should just move on and just pretend that it didn’t happen.
Given the tight community of schools you previously described, did it ever occur to you to alert any other girlfriends not to attend any parties where Kavanaugh or Judge would be there?
FORD: Over the years, I told very, very few friends that I had this traumatic experience. I told my husband before we were married that I had experienced a sexual assault. I had never told the details to anyone — the specific details — until May 2012, during a couples counseling session.
You said you told “very, very few friends.” So then who did you tell before 2012 and when was it? Can they corroborate this story?
FORD: The reason this came up in counseling is that my husband and I had completed a very extensive, very long remodel of our home and I insisted on a second front door, an idea that he and others disagreed with and could not understand.
Why did a second front door help your concerns as opposed to other points of exit like a back door or one to a garage?
FORD: In explaining why I wanted a second front door, I began to describe the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court, and spoke a bit about his background at an elitist all-boys school in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.
After that May 2012 therapy session, I did my best to ignore the memories of the assault, because recounting them caused me to relive the experience, and caused panic and anxiety.
Had you ever had any therapy before this 2012 session due to the home renovations?
FORD: Occasionally, I would discuss the assault in an individual therapy session, but talking about it caused more reliving of the trauma, so I tried not to think about it or discuss it. But over the years, I went through periods where I thought about the attack.
Were these individual therapy sessions before or after 2012? So talking about the experience made your trauma worse?
FORD: I had confided in some close friends that I had had an experience with sexual assault. Occasionally, I stated that my assailant was a prominent lawyer or judge, but I did not use his name.
Again, who did you confide in who can corroborate your story? To whom can you direct the FBI to begin their investigation?
FORD: I do not recall each person I spoke to about Brett’s assault. And some friends have reminded me of these conversations since the publication of the Washington Post story on September 16th, 2018. But until July 2018, I had never named Mr. Kavanaugh as my attacker outside of therapy.
If the FBI decides to investigate this matter further, will these friends be named and cooperate with any investigation?
SEN. FEINSTEIN: Well, can you tell us what impact the events had on you?
FORD: Well, I think that the sequelae of sexual assault varies by person, so for me personally, anxiety, phobia and PTSD-like symptoms are the types of things that I’ve been coping with. So, more specifically, claustrophobia, panic and that type of thing.
Are there any other manifestations of the incident than PTSD-like symptoms including claustrophobia and panic attacks?
FEINSTEIN: Is that the reason for the second door — front door…
FEINSTEIN: … is claustrophobia?
FORD: Correct. It doesn’t — our house does not look aesthetically pleasing from the curb.
FEINSTEIN: I see. And do you have that second front door?
So the therapy didn’t really help if you have the second front door, correct? This isn’t what your husband wanted, correct?
Approximately how many places have you lived, including away-from-home schools, since 1982?
Did you just have one front door in the 30 years prior to 2012? If so, how did you deal with that?
FEINSTEIN: Can you tell us, is there any other way this has affected your life?
FORD: The primary impact was in the initial four years after the event.
I struggled academically. I struggled very much in Chapel Hill and in college. When I was 17 and went off to college, I had a very hard time, more so than others, forming new friendships and especially friendships with boys, and I had academic problems.
So its been not only difficult for you to have a normal dating, romantic life but one in which you say even impacted your ability to, as you say, “form new friendships and especially friendships with boys.” Did you not really date until you met your husband?
MITCHELL: Let me ask just a few questions to make sure that you’ve thought of everything, OK? You indicated that you were at the country club swimming that day.
FORD: That’s my best estimate of how this could have happened.
Does that mean you were indeed swimming at the country club that day or you surmise you must have been swimming since you had on a bathing suit?
MITCHELL: Do you recall knowing before you went who was going to be at that gathering?
FORD: I recall that — expecting that Mark Judge and Leland would be at that gathering.
So you knew Mark Judge prior to the event. How long had you known him and how often did you see him?
These boys were older than you. Had you previously dated Judge or any of his friends? Had any of your girlfriends?
Were there normally other, older girls at these weekend parties closer in age to the boys?
MITCHELL: Now let’s talk about the gathering up from the time you arrived until right when you went up the stairs, just that period of time, OK? What was the atmosphere like at the gathering?
FORD: Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Judge were extremely inebriated, they had clearly been drinking prior. And the other people at the party were not. The living room was…
MITCHELL: Can I ask you just to follow up on that?
When you said it was clear that they had been drinking prior, do you mean prior to the time you had gotten there or prior to the time they had arrived?
FORD: Prior to the time that they arrived. I don’t recall who arrived first, though, whether it was me or them.
If they had arrived first, how can you possible know if they were drunk prior to their arrival?
Why did you consider this to be a safe environment when you first arrived at the gathering with four older guys, two of whom are already intoxicated and just one other younger girl?
You stated previously that you had one beer. Did you start drinking immediately after you arrived?
How long did it take to drink that beer? If it was, say, a half hour, did you talk to Kavanaugh or Judge during that time given there were only a few people there?
If you can remember so few details of the gathering itself, how can you be so sure you only had one beer?
FORD: So I recall that the — I could — I can sketch a floor plan. I recall that it was a sparsely furnished, fairly modest living room.
And it was not really a party like the news has made it sound. It was not. It was just a gathering that I assumed was going to lead to a party later on that those boys would attend, because they tended to have parties later at night than I was allowed to stay out.
Did you normally then just arrive to such events early, have few beers and then go home before the main party really began?
Though you can’t recall how you got to this gathering or how you got home, what was the normal pattern of coming and going since you couldn’t drive. Walk, ride with someone else or get a ride from your parents?
Being able to sketch a floor plan and describe the decor for that particular gathering is a considerable recollection of detail. Could this mean that you had been to this home prior to this evening?
So how did you know the bathroom was upstairs? Did you have to ask someone, did you know from a previous visit or did you just go looking for one?
So it was kind of a pre-gathering.
It sounds like this was fairly early in the evening then, correct? Like more people were to arrive later on? Who told you that?
MITCHELL: Was it loud?
FORD: No, not in the living room.
MITCHELL: Besides the music that you’ve described that was playing in the bedroom, was there any other music or television or anything like that that was adding?
MITCHELL: OK. So there wasn’t a stereo playing downstairs?
Could you hear the music in the bedroom from downstairs? Was it typical of such parties not have any music playing or did you find it odd or perhaps too early to play anything?
SEN. LEAHY: Now, how did you know Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge? And is it possible that you had mixed them up with somebody else?
FORD: No, it is not. And the person that was blamed for the incident is actually the person who introduced me to them originally. So he was a member of Columbia Country Club. And I don’t want to talk about him because I think it’s unfair, but he is the person that — that introduced me to them.
Where were you introduced to them? So he was essentially a friend of both Kavanaugh and Judge and you? Would you provide his name to the FBI for an investigation? And he could corroborate this introduction, right?
SEN. LEAHY: Well, then, let’s go back to the incident.
What is the strongest memory you have, the strongest memory of the incident, something that you cannot forget? Take whatever time you need.
FORD: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the laugh — the uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.
Have you ever wondered what they considered so hilarious? Was it your facially-expressed terror or your completely vulnerable predicament? Why would two drunken boys in a sexual or power induced frenzy be in the throes of uproarious laughter? As a professor of psychology, what would be your professional opinion?
LEAHY: You’ve never forgotten that laughter. You’ve never forgotten them laughing at you.
FORD: They were laughing with each other.
LEAHY: And you were the object of the laughter?
FORD: I was, you know, underneath one of them while the two laughed, two friend — two friends having a really good time with one another.
To the psychologically uneducated, this sounds like two sociopaths. Can such behavior, in your professional opinion, be attributed to alcohol or are they underlying pathologies that would lead you to believe that such individuals are likely to repeat such behavior in the future?
MITCHELL: You told Senator Feinstein in your letter that you and four others were present. You’ve corrected that today to say it was at least four others.
When you were interviewed by The Washington Post, you said that there were four boys present at the party. And then in your polygraph statement, you said there were four boys and two girls.
When you say “two girls,” was that you and another or was that two other girls?
FORD: That was me and one other girl.
MITCHELL: And that other girl’s name?
MITCHELL: Leland Keyser now?
So then would it be fair to say at least P.J., Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, Leland Ingham — at the time — and yourself were present, and possibly others?
FORD: And one — one other boy. So there were four — there were four boys. I just don’t know the name of the other boy, so.
MITCHELL: Have you been contacted by anybody saying, “Hey, I was at that party, too”?
FORD: No, I haven’t talked with anyone from that party.
So Dr. Ford, not only did those who you said were at the party unanimously deny it under penalty of felony, there is no one else you may have overlooked who contacted you either?
FORD: You know, oh wait, I’m sorry. I just realized that I said something that was inaccurate. I said I hadn’t spoken with anyone from the party since that. I have spoken with Leland.
When did you speak with her last?
Have you ever spoken with her about the night in question?
Subsequent to that night, did Leland ever ask you why you were upstairs with those two guys leaving her alone with two boys downstairs?
Did she ever ask you why you ran out the door that night leaving her alone with four guys and never even saying good-bye to her?
MITCHELL: OK. In your letter you wrote, “Both loudly stumbled down the stairwell, at which point other persons at the house were talking with them.” Does that ring a bell?
FORD: Yes. I had to walk past everyone to leave the house, so…
This included the others and especially Leland, who had no idea what happened to you upstairs. Did Leland or anyone ask where you were going?
Again, did you look disheveled or were your clothes torn when you left the house?
SEN. DURBIN: Dr. Ford, with what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?
FORD: One hundred percent.
DURBIN: One hundred percent. In the letter which you sent to Dr. — or, Senator Feinstein you wrote, “I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh since the assault. I did see Mark Judge once at the Potomac Village Safeway where he was extremely uncomfortable in seeing me.”
Would you please describe that encounter at the Safeway with Mark Judge and what led you to believe he was uncomfortable?
FORD: Yes. I was going to the Potomac Village Safeway — this is the one on the corner of Falls and River Road — and I was with my mother. And I was a teenager, so I wanted her to go in one door and me go in the other.
So I chose the wrong door, because the door I chose was the one where Mark Judge was — looked like he was working there and arranging the shopping carts. And I said “Hello” to him. And his face was white and very uncomfortable saying “Hello” back.
And we had previously been friendly at the times that we saw each other over the previous two years. Albeit not very many times, we had always been friendly with one another.
I wouldn’t characterize him as not friendly. He was just nervous and not really wanting to speak with me.
Is the primary reason you hadn’t seen Brett Kavanaugh subsequent to that evening is that you stopped going to these parties or that he just wasn’t there?
Why would you be the first one to initiate a greeting by saying hello and want to speak to a guy who was complicit in an attempted rape of you?
You say he wasn’t necessarily unfriendly toward you. Were you friendly toward him?
Did you ever see him again?
DURBIN: How long…
FORD: And he — he looked a little bit ill.
DURBIN: How long did this occur after the incident?
FORD: I would estimate six to eight weeks.
So just a few weeks after this person was a key part of life-changing incident for you, you were recovered enough to initiate a greeting as opposed to look the other way or scream at him for what he did?
MITCHELL: …I have a blow-up here to my right of the map that was shown to you. The address that’s indicated on here as belonging to your family is what all the property tax records showed as being your address.
MITCHELL: Just to put it in perspective, I’d like to show you a further-out — a zoomed-out picture, so that we can put it in perspective. So, we can show the greater Washington area. Of course, you can see the Beltway on that — the Beltway area.
MITCHELL: OK. Looking at number — the third thing here, we calculated the distance from the closest point to your house from a mile radius of the country club and then the farthest point. You can see it’s 6.2 and, of course, 8.2 miles.
MITCHELL: And you’ve described this as being near the country club, wherever this house was, is that right?
FORD: I would describe it as it’s somewhere between my house and the country club in that vicinity that’s shown in your picture. And the country club is about 20 — a 20-minute drive from my parents’ home.
MITCHELL: A 20-minute drive. And, of course, I’ve marked as the crow flies.
MITCHELL: Would it be fair to say that somebody drove you somewhere, either to the party or home from the party?
Has anyone come forward to say to you, “Hey, remember, I was the one that drove you home?”
This is difficult to understand. You say you were likely swimming at the country club that afternoon and likely came to the party directly from there or else you might have changed into other clothing had you gone home first, correct?
So either you needed a ride from the club to the party, a ride from the party home if the house was close by or you needed a ride for both. Yet you can’t remember and no one has come forward, correct?
MITCHELL: OK. In reading The Washington Post article, it mentions that this incident that we’re here about contributed to anxiety and PTSD problems with which you have struggled. The word contributed, does that mean that there are other things that have happened that have also contributed to anxiety and PTSD?
FORD: I think that’s a great question. I think the etiology if anxiety and PTSD is multifactorial. So that was certainly a critical risk — risk that — we would call a risk factor in science, so that would be a predictor of the symptoms that I now have.
It doesn’t mean that other things that have happened in my life would have — would make it worse or better. There are other risk factors as well.
MITCHELL: So have there been other things, then, that have contributed to the anxiety and PTSD that you suffered?
FORD: Well, I think there’s, sort of, biological predispositions that everyone in here has for particular disorders. So I can’t rule out that I would have some biological predisposition to be, you know…
So you acknowledge that you do have PTSD but can only really name the incident in question as a contributing factor and no others, correct?
MITCHELL: OK. And when you – when you did leave that night, did Leland Keyser – now Keyser ever follow up with you and say hey, what happened to you?
FORD: I have had communications with her recently.
MITCHELL: I’m talking about like the next day.
FORD: Oh no, she didn’t know about the event. She was downstairs during the event and I did not share it with her.
MITCHELL: OK. Have you been in – are you aware that the three people at the party besides yourself and — and Brett Kavanaugh have given statements under penalty of felony to the committee?
MITCHELL: And are you aware of what those statements say?
MITCHELL: Are you aware that they say that they have no memory or knowledge of such a party?
MITCHELL: OK. Do you have any particular motives to ascribe to Leland?
FORD: I guess we could take those one at a time. Leland has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs, and she let me know that she needed her lawyer to take care of this for her, and she texted me right afterward with an apology and good wishes, and et cetera, So I’m glad that she’s taking care of herself.
I don’t expect that P.J. and Leland would remember this evening. It was a very unremarkable party. It was not one of their more notorious parties, because nothing remarkable happened to them that evening. They were downstairs.
Does that mean that Leland’s attorney’s statement to the Judiciary Committee that she had no recollection of ever even being at a party or gathering where Judge Kavanaugh was in attendance is erroneous?
That somehow because she’s having other health-related issues that she would place herself in legal jeopardy?
The other potential corroborator, Patrick “P.J.” Smyth has also issued a sworn statement under penalty of perjury that he has no recollection of attending such a party. Do you have any explanation why these potential witnesses would place themselves at legal risk?
MITCHELL: Senator Harris just questioned you from the Maricopa County Protocol on Sexual Assault. The — that’s the paper she was holding out. Are you aware that — and you know, I’ve — I’ve been really impressed today, because you’ve talked about norepinephrine and cortisol, and what we call in the profession, basically, the neurobiological effects of trauma. Have you also educated yourself on the best way to get to memory and truth, in terms of interviewing victims of trauma?
MITCHELL: Did you know that the best way to do it is to have a trained interviewer talk to you one-on-one in a private setting, and to let you do the talking, just let you do a narrative? Did you know that?
FORD: That makes a — a lot of sense.
MITCHELL: It does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
MITCHELL: And then to follow up, obviously, to fill in the details and — and ask for clarification. Does that make sense, as well?
MITCHELL: And — and the research is done by a lot of people in the child abuse field. Two of the more prominent ones in the sexual assault field are Geisel and Fisher, who’ve talked about it, and it’s called a cognitive interview. This is not a cognitive interview.
Did anybody ever advise you from Senator Feinstein’s office, or from Representative Eshoo’s office to go get a forensic interview?
MITCHELL: Instead, you were advised to get an attorney and take a polygraph. Is that right?
FORD: Many people advised me to get an attorney. Once I had an attorney, my attorney and I discussed a — using the polygraph.
MITCHELL: And instead of submitting to an interview in California, we’re having a hearing here today in five-minute increments. Is that right?
FORD: I — I agree that’s what was agreed upon by the collegial group here.
MITCHELL: OK. Thank you. I have no further questions.
Nor do I.