Christine Blasey Ford, the Palo Alto University professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in an open hearing Thursday, her lawyers officially announced on Sunday.
The news caps off a dizzying week of back-and-forth negotiations that have thrust Ford into the national spotlight and put Kavanaugh and his supporters—including President Trump—on the defensive.
“Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her,” Ford’s legal team said in a statement Sunday.
Ford had initially pushed for an FBI probe of her allegations before she would agree to testify, citing death threats against her and “vicious harassment” following her decision to speak out publicly against Kavanaugh. She has accused him of forcing himself on her at a high school party in Maryland in the 1980s, a claim which he has denied and his supporters have dismissed as unreliable.
The news of a public hearing came after Ford’s lawyers spent at least an hour negotiating with committee aides early Sunday, with some issues still left to be resolved. Among other things, the two sides reportedly have yet to reach an agreement on who will testify first, Ford or Kavanaugh.
It was also not immediately clear whether Ford would be questioned by senators on the committee—whose Republican members are all male—or an outside lawyer or aide, most likely female.
“We were told no decision has been made on this important issue, even though various senators have been dismissive of her account and should have to shoulder their responsibility to ask her questions,” Ford’s lawyers said Sunday.
Her legal team also indicated Sunday that they weren’t entirely satisfied with the tentative agreement for Thursday’s hearing, saying, “A number of important procedural and logistical issues remain unresolved.”
Ford has “agreed to move forward with a hearing even though the Committee has refused to subpoena Mark Judge,” her lawyers wrote, referring to a high school friend of Kavanaugh who Ford has said witnessed the alleged sexual assault.
“They have also refused to invite other witnesses who are essential for a fair hearing that arrives at the truth about the sexual assault,” the statement said.