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Kavanaugh Accuser Lays Out Conditions For Senate Testimony

WASHINGTON (CBS News) – The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were both in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, has been negotiating the conditions under which she would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Her lawyers had a call with the committee and sent a follow-up email Thursday, CBS News confirms.

Sens Hirono And Gillibrand Accept Letter Supporting Christine Blasey Ford
Holton-Arms School alumna Alexis Goldstein (C), U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) (R) and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) (L) answer questions from the media on Sept. 20, 2018, at Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC., after Goldstein delivered a letter signed by Holton-Arms alumnae in support of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a high school party about 35 years ago. Kavanaugh is scheduled to appear again before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Monday to respond to the allegation of sexual assault by accuser Christine Blasey Ford, who was also invited to testify, but has requested an FBI investigation first, that have endangered his nomination to the Supreme Court. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

CBS News has obtained the email sent by Ford's attorneys Thursday night to the Judiciary Committee after their call. The note, signed by attorney Debra Katz, reiterated that it would be a "deal breaker" to demand Ford testify Monday, and further, submitting written testimony by Friday at 10 a.m. would be "a non-starter" because "it is simply not possible for her to prepare such testimony while at the same time trying to take appropriate security precautions in the face of the avalanche of threats she has been receiving."

It is unclear what will happen if Ford doesn't submit written testimony by that deadline.

Katz said Ford needs time to "settle things with her family," travel and prepare to testify. Katz also asked the committee for information about how the hearing would unfold -- how many rounds of questions will be permitted by each member; whether Mark Judge, whom Ford named as an eyewitness and participant in the incident, would be subpoenaed; whether the committee would agree not to have Kavanaugh present during her testimony; and what would be done to ensure Ford's safety during the testimony.

Katz also said that Senators should be the questioners, not outside counsel. During their call with the committee Ford's lawyers outlined these demands, according to a source close to the process:

  • Ford will not appear any sooner than next Thursday.
  • No questions to be asked at hearing by any outside counsel -- only by Senators.
  • Mark Judge must be subpoenaed.
  • Kavanaugh would testify first, then Ford would testify, and Kavanaugh would have no opportunity to respond or rebut.
  • The Friday deadline for her to provide written statement before the hearing would be waived.
  • Provide adequate security.
  • Only one pool camera in hearing room.
  • Ford and Kavanaugh allotted the same amount of time to talk.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had originally set a Friday deadline for Ford to submit testimony and had scheduled a hearing for Monday. The Judiciary Committee has not yet given a public response to the conditions listed by Ford's attorneys.

Grassley declined an earlier request by Ford to have the FBI investigate her allegation against Kavanaugh. The FBI has included the allegation in Kavanaugh's background file, and is not opening any additional probe at this time, although the president could theoretically direct the FBI to undertake a further review. The president said he trusts the Senate to do its job.

The Senate Judiciary chairman said in a tweet Thursday that committee investigators have been following up on the leads from Ford's allegations and from news stories. "No other OUTSIDE investigation is necessary for the Cmte to do its investigation," Grassley's tweet read.

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