Thursday, October 4, 2018


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Sex-Crimes Prosecutor: Claims From Ford Against Judge Kavanaugh Lack Sufficient Evidence
See the Wall Street Journal article, below.

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-- “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” - C. S. Lewis
FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (without permission)

Sex-Crimes Prosecutor: Claims From Ford Against Judge Kavanaugh Lack Sufficient Evidence

Rachel Mitchell said in a memo to senators, ‘I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case.’

Natalie Andrews

Oct. 1, 2018 12:53 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The sex-crimes prosecutor hired by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Christine Blasey Ford about her allegations of assault against Brett Kavanaugh told the panel she wouldn’t have prosecuted the case, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona prosecutor for more than two decades whom Republicans hired for last Thursday’s hearing with Dr. Ford and the Supreme Court nominee, told senators on the panel in a memo Sunday that a reasonable prosecutor wouldn’t proceed because of a lack of sufficient evidence.

In her memo, Ms. Mitchell acknowledged that “there is no clear standard of proof for allegations made during the Senate’s confirmation process,” but said that because she is a prosecutor, she was providing her legal assessment on whether the allegations could be prosecuted in court.

At the hearing, Ms. Mitchell questioned Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, a California college professor who has accused the judge of attempting to rape her when they were both teenagers. Judge Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Ms. Mitchell asked Dr. Ford about the location of the alleged assault and what she remembered. She also asked Judge Kavanaugh about his sexual behavior, though Republican senators largely questioned the high-court nominee on their own.

“A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that,” Ms. Mitchell wrote in her memo to the committee. She outlined reasons why, noting that Dr. Ford had given an inconsistent date for when the alleged assault had happened and didn’t remember key details, such as how she got home after the alleged attack.

In her testimony Thursday, a steady but emotional Dr. Ford told lawmakers she had been “haunted by memories” since the alleged attack at a house party. She said she was “100%” certain it was Judge Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judgewho pushed her into a room, and said her memory of “the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense” was “indelible.”

The format of the hearing was stilted, with Republicans each allowing Ms. Mitchell to take their allotted five minutes, and Democratic senators each questioning Dr. Ford on their own. The back-and-forth resulted in Ms. Mitchell often having to pause in a line of questioning to wait for a Democratic senator to ask completely different questions.

At the end of questioning Dr. Ford, Ms. Mitchell acknowledged that the hearing’s format wasn’t the best way to question a victim of sexual assault.

Senators have grappled with a central question: How much proof is required from Dr. Ford in her allegations to discredit Judge Kavanaugh’s unequivocal denial. Republicans argue that Judge Kavanaugh should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Democrats, however, situate Dr. Ford’s allegations within a list of other reasons they question Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

An attorney for Dr. Ford declined to comment on the memo.

In the nine-page document, Ms. Mitchell pointed out inconsistencies between Dr. Ford’s testimony Thursday and her previous accounts of the alleged assault. For example, in Dr. Ford’s testimony to the committee, she said there were four boys at the party, along with herself and a friend. In her letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), she said there were four other people.

Ms. Mitchell also wrote that “the activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford’s attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford’s account,” providing a timeline of when Dr. Ford spoke with Mrs. Feinstein and Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California before the allegations were public.

A spokesman for Mrs. Feinstein didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii criticized the memo. “Mitchell didn’t interview the alleged perpetrator or the only witness, and she is working for the Senate Republicans. It doesn’t matter what ‘conclusions’ she draws. The fix is in,” he tweeted.

Ms. Mitchell didn’t thoroughly question Judge Kavanaugh in the same way she questioned Dr. Ford because most Republican senators asked Judge Kavanaugh questions, instead of deferring to Ms. Mitchell.

While leading the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office’s sex-crimes bureau, Ms. Mitchell has overseen dozens of prosecutions of accused rapists, child molesters, pedophiles and other sexual abusers. Her most extensive experience is dealing with clergy abuse.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) on Friday forced a delay of up to one week on a Senate vote to allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation time to investigate decades-old allegations of sexual assault against the judge.

The Senate on Friday also took the first procedural step that allows it to begin considering Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination so it can vote quickly once the FBI has completed its investigation.

If Judge Kavanaugh is approved by the full Senate this week, he would be seated on the Supreme Court a few days after the start of the court’s new term, which begins Oct. 1.

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