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Grassley questions ‘reliability’ of Ford’s polygraph

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s request to Christine Blasey Ford’s attorneys came hours before the 51-year-old professor is scheduled to testify about her alleged high-school-era assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. | Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) late Wednesday sought “all audio and video recordings” as well as all “charts and data” from Christine Blasey Ford’s polygraph test regarding her sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, according to correspondence obtained by POLITICO.

Grassley’s request to Ford’s attorneys came hours before the 51-year-old professor is scheduled to testify about her alleged high school-era assault by President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee in a blockbuster Thursday hearing. Republicans had earlier sought a copy of the polygraph report from Ford’s examination, given in August, and they received it earlier Wednesday.

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In his letter to Ford’s attorneys, Grassley wrote that the recordings and data from the polygraph examination were required “to assess the reliability” of that report, which included a written statement from Ford.

Ford attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz responded Wednesday night in a letter that notes they were given about an hour to furnish the items at issue and saying they “are not in a position to produce these materials this evening.”

“First, we fail to understand how these materials are important” to gauging the reliability of Ford’s statement. “At your request, we provided the polygraph examiner’s report, which detailed the methodology and the results, along with his qualifications to perform the examination.”

Additionally, Banks and Katz noted, their request to have the polygraph examiner who administered Ford’s test testify at Thursday’s hearing, “which would have included providing the specific materials you are now requesting,” was denied by the GOP.

The examiner concluded using three algorithmic measurements that Ford’s account of her alleged assault by Kavanaugh was “not indicative of deception.”

But some Republicans have zeroed in on the number of individuals present at the decades-old party at which the alleged assault took place, comparing Ford’s account of the night in her July letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) with the account she wrote down for the polygraph examination. Grassley’s office did not return a request for comment on the reasons for its request to view audio, video and other data from Ford’s polygraph examination.

Broadly speaking, the accuracy of polygraph examinations is a disputed matter. The American Psychological Association has said there is little evidence the tests can effectively separate true accounts from false, and they are not admissible in criminal trials in some states.

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