Brett Kavanaugh's accuser breaks silence on allegation of decades-old incident of sexual misconduct 

Key Points
  • A woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of forcing himself on her during a high school party in the early 1980s has come forward publicly for the first time,
  • Christine Blasey Ford details the allegation to The Washington Post, saying she feared Kavanaugh might accidentally kill her.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh looks on during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 4, 2018. 
Chris Wattie | Reuters

A woman who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of forcing himself on her during a high school party in the early 1980s has come forward publicly for the first time, detailing the allegation to The Washington Post, which published her story Sunday.

Speaking to the publication, Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University in California, alleges that Kavanaugh, then a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland, entered a room drunk, pinned her to a bed, and groped her over her clothing. Kavanaugh then attempted to undress her while he and his classmate, Mark Judge, both laughed "maniacally," she said.

She claimed that when she tried to scream, Kavanaugh covered her mouth. Ford also told the Post she was concerned that Kavanaugh "might inadvertently kill me. He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing."

Kavanaugh has flatly denied assaulting anyone. Ford originally hesitated to tell her story, and did not discuss it with anyone until 2012, when she relayed the encounter to a therapist, the newspaper said. Those session notes were viewed by a Post reporter but could not be verified immediately by CNBC. She decided to come forward now, according to the article, because she wanted to be the one to tell her own story.

Ford engaged a prominent D.C. attorney, Debra Katz, who advised her to take a polygraph test in order to rebuff criticism of her if she came forward. The results of the test, which she took in early August, indicated that Ford was being truthful, according to Post.

At least one Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Flake, told the Post on Sunday that Ford "must be heard" and urged the panel not to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination until it can hear from her. Republicans hold only an 11-10 majority on the committee, so Flake's vote could make a difference.

The committee has completed its hearings on Kavanaugh and plans to vote on Thursday on his nomination to the lifetime position. A positive vote would set up a debate following by a vote in the full Senate.

Sen. Feinstein passes confidential letter about Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to FBI


The broad outlines of the accusation emerged last week following reports that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the committee reviewing Kavanaugh's nomination, possessed a letter that contained information about possible sexual misconduct related to Kavanaugh's high school days.

After the existence of the letter was made public, Feinstein referred the allegation to the FBI, which did not open a criminal investigation. The FBI included the letter in an update to Kavanaugh's background check.

Nonetheless, the specter of possible sexual misconduct caused an uproar during Kavanaugh's nomination. While the nominee appears headed toward a swift confirmation vote expected later this month, Democrats have been actively trying to delay the vote.

The debate has also placed a spotlight on lawmakers in the midst of a national reckoning over sexual abuse by powerful men, as they prepare to vote on a nomination that's now clouded by an allegation from decades ago.

"For too long, when women have made serious allegations of abuse, they have been ignored," minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. "That cannot happen in this case."

Schumer and Feinstein demanded on Sunday that the Senate delay considering Kavanaugh's nomination until an investigation is conducted.

Following the initial reports, Kavanaugh said he "categorically and unequivocally" denies the allegation. "I did not do this back in high school or at any time."

Judge, a conservative writer, has also denied that the incident took place. Judge told The Weekly Standard last week that the accusation was "just absolutely nuts." In an interview with The New York Times, Judge said Kavanaugh was a brilliant student who was not "into anything crazy or illegal." 

The White House did not respond to a request for comment following the publication of the article Sunday. The White House referred The Washington Post to Kavanaugh's earlier denial.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday that it was "disturbing that these uncorroborated allegations from more than 35 years ago, during high school, would surface on the eve of a committee vote after Democrats sat on them since July."

Grassley said the timing of the article "raises a lot of questions about Democrats' tactics and motives." Last week, the GOP lawmaker said that the matter will not delay the committee from voting on Kavanaugh's nomination, as they are expected to do Thursday.

Feinstein called on the FBI to conduct an investigation Sunday, and said she supports Ford's decision to tell her story.

"From the outset, I have believed these allegations were extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh's character," Feinstein said. "However, as we have seen over the past few days, they also come at a price for the victim. I hope the attacks and shaming of her will stop and this will be treated with the seriousness it deserves."

— Reuters contributed to this story.