The woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct admitted to several inconsistencies in her accounts and had trouble remembering key recent events during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27.
In the opening five minutes of questioning by Rachel Mitchell, a former prosecutor retained by the Republicans on the committee, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford admitted to four inconsistencies in her accounts. Ford detailed several versions of her account—in text messages to The Washington Post, a letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a statement for her polygraph test, and a subsequent full account to the Post.
Ford couldn’t remember the day she wrote a letter to Feinstein detailing her account. The letter, dated July 30, is at the center of a controversy surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Ford couldn’t remember whether she wrote the letter on July 30.
Ford also said that she wrongly identified Patrick Smyth as a bystander to the alleged misconduct in text messages to the Post. She corrected that account to say that Smyth wasn’t in the room at the time of the alleged misconduct. Ford said the discrepancy was caused by the sense of urgency she felt when she typed the message.
Mitchell’s questions also revealed inconsistencies in the different accounts, related to the number of people at the party. Ford first corrected her account in the Feinstein letter to say there were at least four other people at the house and then corrected the account again, based on her polygraph statement, to say that there were at least five others, including a boy whose name she didn’t know.
Ford also changed the description of who allegedly pushed her into a bedroom. She originally said it was Kavanaugh, but then wasn’t sure if Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend, may have helped.
The California professor also had issues remembering key events from the past three months. Ford said she doesn’t remember if she gave a copy of her therapy notes to the Post; the newspaper reported having reviewed the notes. Ford said that her attorneys may have given the notes to the newspaper. Ford also was unable to remember whether she took a polygraph exam on the day of her grandmother’s funeral, or the day after, and whether the exam was recorded on video or audio.
The hearing consisted of five-minute rounds of questioning by Mitchell on behalf of Republicans, with Democrats on the committee taking turns for speeches.
Mitchell’s questioning focused in part on Ford’s attorneys, revealing that the legal team is working pro-bono and that Feinstein recommended hiring one of the attorneys. On at least one occasion, the lawyers didn’t communicate one part of their negotiations with the committee to Ford, who said she didn’t know that the committee had asked the lawyers to provide charts of her polygraph and any audio or video recording taken of the exam.
Ford said she was introduced to Kavanaugh by a boy she was dating at the time of the alleged incident; yearbook photos suggest that the boy, who she didn’t identify, had a striking resemblance to Kavanaugh at the time.
Mitchell concluded her interview with questions concerning the proper way to interview trauma victims. The former prosecutor said that a forensic interview would be the ideal way to reconstruct memories of a traumatic event long past.
“Did anybody ever advise you, from Senator Feinstein’s office or from Representative [Anna] Eshoo’s office, to go get a forensic interview?” Mitchell asked.
“No,” Ford answered.
“Instead, you were advised to get an attorney and take a polygraph?” Mitchell asked.
“Many people advised me to get an attorney. Once I got an attorney, we discussed using a polygraph,” Ford answered.