The anonymous woman who had accused Brett Kavanaugh — President Trump's nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court — has come forward. Her name is Christine Blasey Ford, and she currently works as a professor in the Social Work Department at California State University, Fullerton.
She's accused Kavanaugh of forcing himself on her at a party in the early 1980s when she was 15 and he was 17.
Here's her allegation, per the Washington Post:
While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”
Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
So, is it true?
In favor of Ford's accusation: She reportedly told her therapist a version of this story in 2012, and her husband likewise says she told him, too. At the suggestion of her attorney, she also successfully took a polygraph test in early August.
There are also reasons to question Ford's allegation. Here are the top 20:
20. Ford offered inaccurate testimony on when her house was remodeled, the supposed provenance of her coming forward about Kavanaugh's alleged assault
In her testimony, Ford said she first revealed Kavanaugh's alleged assault in 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. She said it came up because she asked to install a second front door at the house during a home remodeling project, and that this stemmed from her lingering trauma over the Kavanaugh incident. However, building records show the door was actually added in 2008, and that the purpose was not for a second escape route, but rather so that another part of the home could be used as a separate office.
19. She offered conflicting testimony on polygraphs
In her Senate testimony, Ford was asked, "How you ever had discussions with anyone, besides your attorneys, on how to take a polygraph?" Ford answered: "Never." As a follow up, Rachel Mitchell asked, "Have you ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test?" Ford answered: "Never."
This would appear to be untrue. Her former boyfriend offered testimony in which he said: "during some of the time we were dating, Dr. Ford lived with Monica L. McLean, who I understood to be here lifelong best friend. During that time, it was my understanding that McLean was interviewing for jobs with the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office. I witnessed Dr. Ford help McLean prepare for a potential polygraph exam. Dr. Ford explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked, and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. Dr. Ford was able to help because of her background in psychology."
18. Ford released her polygraph test in hopes of corroborating her story, but ended up undermining it.
Unlike most "lie detector" tests, Ford's was administered in her attorney's office, and rather than answering a series of pointed questions about her accusation, she instead offered a general statement attesting to the accuracy of her own story. Worse, the story she tells during the polygraph test doesn't not match the story she told the Washington Post. In the polygraph test, she says there were "four boys and a couple of girls," but to the Washington Post she said there were only four people total.
17. Before going public, Ford tried locating old friends who would corroborate her story, but couldn't.
The New York Times reported that Ford texted a college friend, Catherine Piwowarski, asking if she had ever confided to her that she was sexually assaulted. Piwowarski was unable to recount such a conversation. Ultimately Ford was unable to produce any previous acquaintances who could attest to her previously sharing this accusation.
16. Ford's attorney initially said she wanted to participate in "any proceedings she's asked to participate in," but soon began issuing extensive demands.
Once the story became public, Ford's attorney told the press that her client "will participate in any proceedings that she's asked to participate in." Immediately Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to invited her to appear before their committee; Ford punted, and then began issuing a series of demands, which together show her attorney's original statement as untrue.
15. A discrepancy in Ford's story
In her second appearance in the Washington Post, she told the paper that after Trump's 2016 victory, she became upset at the prospect of Kavanaugh becoming a possible justice. However, Kavanaugh wasn't added to Trump's list of possible picks until 2017.
14. Ford's attorney, Debra Katz, is an anti-Trump activist and Democratic donor who has previously defended Democrats accused of sexual assault.
During the Clinton Administration, Katz actively defended Bill Clinton against charges Paul Jones was sexually assaulted. Katz likewise defended Al Franken after he was accused of sexual assault. She's donated more than $25,000 to Democratic candidates, and has described Trump supporters as "miscreants." More recently she was scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (who is one of the senators proclaiming their belief in Ford's story), but which was canceled after receiving media attention.
13. Ford's also being advised by a Dem operative who derailed Robert Bork's nomination and recruited Anita Hill to testify against Clarence Thomas
Ford is being advised by Ricki Seidman, Politico recently reported. As the Daily Caller notes: "Seidman is no stranger to high-profile fights over nominations to the Supreme Court by a Republican president. She cut her teeth running attack ads against Robert Bork, a nomination that was eventually derailed. She then moved to Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy’s office, where she was instrumental in convincing Anita Hill to go public with her claim that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, The Weekly Standard reports. Seidman was also instrumental in leaking the Hill story to the press, according to “The Real Anita Hill” by David Brock."
12. Ford's therapist's notes of the incident don't match her current version of the story.
Ford says Kavanaugh pinned her down and attempted to take off her bathing suit; in the room also, she said, was his friend, Mark Judge. Ford first told this story in 2012 — about 30 years later — to her therapist during couples therapy. The therapist's notes from that session don't name Brett Kavanaugh and also report Ford said four men were in the room. Ford says the discrepancy is the fault of the therapist.
11. Ford, by her own admission, has a hazy recollection of the incident.
Despite telling The Washington Post this incident so traumatized her she's been in recovery ever since, she also admitted not recalling the incident specifically. She doesn't remember the year it happened, but believes it occurred in 1982, when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17. She does not recall where the incident occurred, only that it was at a house in Montgomery County, Md. She forgets whose house it was and how she got there. She forgot whether Kavanaugh and Judge were already upstairs when she went up, or if they came up after her. She also forgot how she got home that night.
10. Polygraph tests are so unreliable they are inadmissible in court.
Polygraph tests do not have any reliable capacity to detecting the veracity of a statement, and are therefore inadmissible in criminal proceedings (except in rare circumstances where both parties agree). Here's how the law firm Broden & Mickelsen explain polygraph tests: "The machines measure a person’s biological processes to determine if they are becoming stressed out during interrogations. Factors such as an increase in blood pressure or heart rate are measured. While these may be indicators that a person is lying, they may also simply indicate that a suspect is feeling pressurized by the interrogation even if they are telling the truth."
9. The allegation wasn't released until Kavanaugh's hearings were over.
Ford's story first surfaced in July when she sent a letter to her congressman, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). That letter was forwarded to Sen. Dianne Feinstein in late July. For reasons Feinstein has not disclosed, she kept the letter secret until after Kavanaugh's hearings concluded, missing repeated opportunities to question Kavanaugh directly. By releasing the letter after the hearings concluded, Kavanaugh is effectively robbed of an opportunity to defend himself directly in a public forum. Feinstein has suggested she sought to simply honor Ford's request for confidentiality. Yet that doesn't explain her not bringing the matter up during the hearings, as she could have left the accuser nameless.
8. Kavanaugh has successfully passed six FBI background checks.
Brett Kavanaugh has already served in many of the highest levels of government, almost all of which required extensive FBI background checks. He passed all of these without incident. As Sen. Grassley wrote Monday, "Judge Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI full-field investigations from 1993 to 2018. No such allegation resembling the anonymous claims ever surfaced."
7. 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school have vouched for his character.
Unlike other recent #MeToo accusations, there are no similar stories from other Kavanaugh contemporaries. Indeed, it's the opposite. After Ford's anonymous allegation surfaced, a group of women who knew Kavanaugh in high school signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, collectively serving as a character witness for Kavanaugh.
"Through the more than 35 years we have known him, Brett has stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity. In particular, he has always treated women with decency and respect. That was true when he was in high school, and it has remained true to this day."
6. The only witnesses deny her allegation.
Besides Ford, there are only two other named parties: Brett Kavanaugh himself and his friend, Mark Judge. Both have issued vehement denials. Ford, per the Washington Post, also named two others who were in attendance that night. The Washington Post said neither party responded to requests for comment.
5. Another witness now denies Ford's account.
Initially the only named parties to this incident were Ford, Kavanaugh, and Judge. Ford said two other males were at the party. One of them is Patrick J. Smith, whom she referred to as "PJ." He's since come forward and denied her allegation:
"I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as 'PJ' who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post," Smyth says in his statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh."
4. The final witness now also disputes Haze's account.
The female Ford named as being at the party, Leland Keyser, has since come forward and denied even knowing Kavanaugh or having ever been at a party with him. Through a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee she wrote: “Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”
3. The haze of alcohol.
By Ford's own telling, she was drinking the night of the incident. She says Kavanaugh was heavily intoxicated by did not indicate her own level of sobriety. Did alcohol affect her perception of the incident that night, or her memory of it? The Washington Post account does not describer her level of intoxication when the incident occurred.
2. Deleted her public social media accounts before revealing herself.
As The Washington Post reported, Ford deleted all of her public social media before she came forward, making it difficult to see the advocacy and partisanship she was engaged in the time leading up to her making her allegation public. Of course, Ford may simply value her privacy, but the act of deleting her public postings will inevitably make some wonder what she didn't want seen.
1. Ford is a Democrat who donates to left-wing causes, attended the anti-Trump March for Science, and previously signed an open letter challenging Trump's border policy.
Ford is a political activist who has made dozens of donations to left-wing causes. According to OpenSecrets, she has made more than 60 donations to liberal causes, with almost four dozen to the pro-abortion group, Emily's List, alone. Ford also donated to the DNC, Hillary Clinton (more than 10 times), Bernie Sanders, and the progressive organizing group ActBlue.
Ford likewise attended the anti-Trump March for Science, where she wore a hat knitted like a human brain, but inspired by the feminist "pussy hats" worn at the Women's Marches. Ford also added her name to an open letter from health professionals who argued the U.S. border policy resulting in temporary separation of some families was harmful to children's development. The letter, titled “America’s Health Professionals Appeal to Trump Administration: End Family Separation at Border Immediately,” argued:
“Thousands of medical voices from across the United States have joined forces with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to urge the Trump administration to immediately halt the separation of migrant and asylum seeking children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. ...
“It should not be U.S. policy to traumatize children, and especially not as a form of indirect punishment of their parents. ...
“Forced separation of children and parents, especially in connection with the detention of a parent, can constitute an adverse childhood experience, which research links with disrupted neurodevelopment, resulting in social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, and even negative intergenerational effects."
Editor's Note: This piece is being updated as more information surfaces. This includes removing an item from the list that confused Christine Ford with another, unrelated Christine Ford.