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Judiciary Committee eyes independent lawyer to conduct Kavanaugh questioning

The Judiciary Committee is exploring having an independent lawyer question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford, should she agree to testify on Capitol Hill next week.

Having an outside lawyer do the questioning would avoid the spectacle of senators engaging in a testy back-and-forth with Ms. Blasey Ford, who has accused Judge Kavanaugh of an attempted sexual assault more than three decades ago. He has vehemently denied the allegation, and so far no corroborating witness has publicly come forward to back up Ms. Blasey Ford’s account.

Two sources familiar with the negotiations confirmed the committee is considering using a non-partisan lawyer for the questions.

But it’s not clear whether such a hearing will even happen.

Committee Republicans, after resisting, agreed this week to cancel a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and instead schedule a hearing for Monday to give him and Ms. Blasey Ford an opportunity to be heard.

Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers, though, have since laid out a number of conditions they want met.

In a letter to the committee Thursday, they said she is not averse to testifying next week, but must have her safety and the fairness of the proceedings assured. The lawyers also flatly ruled out Monday, calling that an arbitrary date, according to the letter, first reported by The New York Times.

Even without her guaranteed testimony, the committee is pressing forward with an investigation. Staffers have conducted a call with Judge Kavanaugh and several other people Ms. Blasey Ford has suggested were at the high school party where she says an attempted assault took place.

Ms. Blasey Ford has yet to respond to committee requests to submit to a phone interview.

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Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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