WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (UNRESTRICTED POOL) – A university professor detailed her allegations that Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, sexually assaulted her 36 years ago during a momentous Senate hearing on Thursday that could determine whether he will be confirmed to the lifetime job after a pitched political battle.
The hearing, which has riveted Americans and intensified the political polarization in the United States, occurred against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.
Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge picked by Trump in July for a lifetime job on the high court, were the only two witnesses scheduled for the Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by two other women as well. He has denied all the allegations.
“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,” Ford said, reading from her prepared testimony, her voice breaking with emotion.
Ford was seated at a table in the packed hearing room flanked by her lawyers, facing a bank of senators. Cameras from news photographers clicked as she entered the room and took her seat, smiling nervously.
Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, said a drunken Kavanaugh attacked her and tried to remove her clothing at a gathering of teenagers in Maryland when he was 17 years old and she was 15.
“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 under my clothing. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help,” Ford said, adding that Kavanaugh and a friend of his were “drunkenly laughing during the attack.”
Ford said that when she tried to yell out, he put his hand over her mouth. She said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh and another boy she said was in the room fell off the bed.