Published: Sun, September 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

This Is the Prosecutor Who Will Question Kavanaugh and Ford

This Is the Prosecutor Who Will Question Kavanaugh and Ford

The use of a sex crime prosecutor to question Ford will save the panel's 11 Republican men from the optics of questioning a woman who has alleged sexual assault.

On Tuesday evening, Republican senators in the Senate Judiciary Committee let the public know they hired outside counsel for the hearing on Thursday.

Blasey Ford said the incident left her "drastically altered", She told the committee that, one night in the summer of 1982, a drunken Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, "groped me and tried to take off my clothes", then clamped his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream before she was able to escape.

Rachel Mitchell had a hard mission as the lawyer hired by Republican senators to question the woman accusing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault: test her memory, but treat her respectfully. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

Mitchell leads a division dealing with sexual assault and family violence cases. The examiner, Jennifer Hanafin, recounts what Ford said happened to her and in her report said that "it is the professional opinion of this examiner that Blasey's responses to ... the relevant questions are Not Indicative of Deception", referring to Ford by her maiden name.

Mitchell's opinion could sway fence-sitting senators ahead of a critical Senate Judiciary Committee vote set for Friday afternoon. She said the new manual would ensure prosecutors "have something to look at to say, okay, these are the best practices, so that we can do the best we can for victims".

Speaking about how she got into investigating sex crimes against children as a fluke, she said: "I was waiting for bar exam results working as a law clerk in the Office".

"Even with Ms. Mitchell trying to cross examine her, trying to poke holes in her, trying to show inconsistencies-nothing, zero, they poked no holes that mattered", she said.

"She is about evidence-based approaches and isn't an activist on one side or the other", said Matt Long, a private Phoenix attorney who once worked for Mitchell and now handles sex abuse cases.

"She is a widely recognized expert on the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes and has frequently served as a speaker and instructor on the subject".

"Almost every person close to Trump who had told me having a sex crimes prosecutor question Ford was good strategy is saying they think it was a mistake after the first portion of the hearing", New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote on Twitter.

Rachel Mitchell of Maricopa County, Arizona, has been tapped to question Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, according to the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic and a press release. While Thursday's hearing is as partisan and politically charged as Congress gets, Westerhausen said her friend is all legal - not political - in court. Democrats still intend to ask questions of Ford.

Bruce Feder, a defense attorney in the county, said that as a manager, Mitchell spends less time now in the courtroom but had plenty of experience questioning both victims and people accused of wrongdoing. "Her lawyers paid for the polygraph".

Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate, and can only afford one defection in their bid to confirm Kavanaugh, assuming they secure no Democratic votes.

Like this: