On Sunday, clinical psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape at a party when he was 17 and she was 15 (a charge Kavanaugh denies) in a Washington Post interview. Three days later, she and her family are reportedly already facing drastic, punishing consequences.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday evening that Ford’s lawyers delivered a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which states that the professor has been left with no choice but to leave her home due violent threats made against her and her family. The letter also says Ford’s email was hacked. According to the lawyers’ letter:
“In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country. At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized. She has been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kinds of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home. Her email has been hacked, and she has been impersonated online.”
In the letter, Ford’s lawyers also wrote that their client will not testify before Monday’s scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee hearing unless the FBI first investigates the allegations she has brought against Kavanaugh.
“While Dr. Ford’s life was being turned upside down,” the letter continues, addressing Grassley, “you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.”
On Tuesday night, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) tweeted a message asking that Ford’s request be honored.
The Huffington Post reports that Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) also voiced her support in a statement that reads, “I agree with her 100 percent that the rushed process to hold a hearing on Monday has been unfair and is reminiscent of the treatment of Anita Hill. I also agree that we need the facts before senators—not staff or lawyers—speak to witnesses. We should honor Dr. Blasey Ford’s wishes and delay this hearing.”
NBC News reported Tuesday night that Grassley responded to Ford’s lawyers, insisting that a law enforcement investigation would not be necessary. “Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events,” said Grassley. “Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay,”