Kavanaugh and accuser to testify in Senate

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Reuters

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Brett Kavanaugh has denied the allegations against him

The Senate has scheduled a public hearing on a sex assault claim against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for next week.

Judge Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says he attacked her more than three decades ago, will both be able to testify.

US President Donald Trump said earlier he expected “a little delay” to confirming his nominee.

Mr Kavanaugh, 53, says the allegation against him is “completely false”.

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Reuters

He denies he was even at the 1982 high school party in question where his accuser, now a psychology professor in California, says he tried to rape her as his friend watched.

The claim has jeopardised Mr Kavanaugh’s formerly all-but certain-nomination for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley confirmed next Monday’s hearing in a statement.

“As I said earlier, anyone who comes forward as Dr Ford has done deserves to be heard,” said the Iowa Republican.

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Mr Grassley had earlier stopped short of calling for a public hearing, or for delaying the committee’s vote on Mr Kavanaugh which was originally planned for Thursday of this week.

Democrats had demanded a delay in the committee’s vote in order to let the FBI investigate.

Moderate senators from both parties had argued that Judge Kavanaugh and Prof Ford should be given the chance to testify before the panel.

Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, told reporters she would like the chance to observe Dr Ford to decide the credibility of her account.

“Obviously, if Judge Kavanaugh has lied about what happened, that would be disqualifying,” she said.

What is the allegation?

Prof Ford went public with the claim in an article published in the Washington Post on Sunday.

She says the incident happened 36 years ago in a Maryland suburb outside Washington DC when they were students in different high schools.

She says Mr Kavanaugh, then a teenager, drunkenly pinned her to a bed and tried to take off her clothes, then clamped his hand over her mouth when she attempted to scream.

Both Mr Kavanaugh and his friend, who watched the incident, were drunk, she says.

Mark Judge, who has been named as the third person in the room, told The Weekly Standard the allegations were “absolutely nuts”.

Prof Ford says she spoke of the alleged attack a couple of times over the subsequent decades, including during therapy.

In TV interviews on Monday, her lawyer, Debra Katz, suggested her client, a Palo Alto University academic, would be willing to speak out in a public hearing.

Ms Katz told CBS’ This Morning programme: “She’s willing to do what she needs to do.”

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Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries.Trump court pick Kavanaugh issues denial; accuser willing to testify