WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A woman who has accused President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual misconduct decades ago is willing to publicly testify before a Senate panel set to vote this week on his nomination, her lawyer said on Monday.
California professor Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of trying to attack her and remove her clothing in the early 1980s when they were both high school students. Kavanaugh, the Republican president’s second nominee for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court, has denied the allegations.
The accusation threatens to complicate his nomination, which must be approved first by the Senate Judiciary Committee and then by the full chamber, which is narrowly controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans. A panel vote is scheduled for Thursday.
In a round of television interviews early on Monday, Ford’s Washington-based lawyer, Debra Katz, said her client would be willing to speak out publicly. Asked if that included testimony under oath at a public hearing before senators, Katz told the CBS “This Morning” programme: “She’s willing to do what she needs to do.”
Some Republicans on the panel have said the accuser should have a chance to tell her story, and White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway echoed that view on Monday.
“This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” Conway said in an interview with Fox News.
Conway said sworn testimony from both Kavanaugh and Ford on the specific allegation should be considered as part of the record in the judge’s hearings.
White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Reuters on Monday that Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by the judge’s denial of the allegation.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe