After days of behind the scenes wrangling, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Sunday afternoon that the panel will hold a hearing on Thursday to take public testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at a high school party in the early 1980's.
The panel had originally set a Monday morning vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, but after a weekend of talks - which still hasn't resolved all the details for the hearing - committee Republicans agreed to allow Ford to present her case in a public hearing, posting a new hearing notice on the committee's website.
"Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her," Ford's legal team told reporters in a statement, adding that a 'number of important procedural and logistical issues remain unresolved.'
Ford's lawyers said the committee had rejected a request to invite other witnesses, specifically naming Mark Judge, a high school classmate of Kavanaugh; Ford says Judge was a direct witness to her assault.
The current committee plan is for only two witnesses - one would be Ford, to be followed then by Judge Kavanaugh, who has sternly denied any wrongdoing involving Ford.
GOP Senators and the White House said Ford has offered no corroborating evidence to back up her allegations.
"Dr. Christine Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others," said White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec. "Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party.”
"These official letters from the 4 named by Dr Ford — denying any knowledge of what Dr Ford has alleged — serve the same purpose as sworn testimony," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
The Thursday hearing would be a high stakes political event, drawing immediate comparisons to the extra hearings held for the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, when he defended himself against public accusations of sexual harassment by law professor Anita Hill.
Unlike that hearing in October of 1991, neither Kavanaugh nor Ford is currently expected to have testimony from additional witnesses.
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