Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school, has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, her attorneys said on Saturday.
After many extensions last week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa gave Ford a deadline of Saturday at 2:30 p.m. to decide if she would testify before the panel next week. If she did not comply, the committee would go ahead with a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Monday.
In an email to the committee, lawyers for Ford said that while she has agreed to “provide first-hand knowledge of Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct,” they are disappointed “with the leaks and bullying that have tainted the process.”
The timing and terms of the hearing are still unclear, as negotiations are ongoing between Ford’s attorneys and the Senate Judiciary Committee, but in a letter Ford’s lawyers said they are “hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”
Ford says that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to forcibly remove her clothes during a house party in Bethesda, Md., in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegation and said he would appear before the committee next week.
As the Saturday deadline approached, NBC news reported that Garrett Ventry, a communications aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee who had been helping lead the response to Ford’s claim against Kavanaugh, was stepping down after evidence surfaced he was fired from a previous job partly due to sexual harassment allegations against him.
Ventry, a press adviser on the committee chaired by Grassley, denied any past “allegations of misconduct” according to NBC News. He told the Washington Post he resigned “in order to not be a distraction” as Republicans in the senate continue to work on getting Kavanaugh confirmed.
This abrupt resignation is one more point in the chaotic timeline of Kavanaugh’s confirmation struggle.