Tuesday, October 2, 2018

HEARING SCHMEARING UPDATE
(Briahna Gray at The Intercept.com)

NEXT, MITCHELL ARGUES that “Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happens.” She points to the fact that Ford first told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh assaulted her in the “mid 1980s” before narrowing it down to the “early 80s” in a July 30 letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Ford has been consistent about the timing since then — eventually narrowing the time frame down to the summer of 1982.

Mitchell characterizes the shift from “mid” to “early” 80s as damning, noting that “while it’s common for victims to be uncertain about dates, Dr. Ford failed to explain how she was suddenly able to narrow the timeframe to a particular season and particular year.”

The thing is, Ford did explain how she was able to narrow the timeframe to the early 80s: She realized the assault occurred before she was old enough to have a driver’s license, and was able to infer her age from that fact. Mitchell should know this, because Ford explained it in response to Mitchell’s own questioning:

"Mitchell: How were you able to narrow down the time frame?

Ford: I can’t give the exact date. And I would like to be more helpful about the date, and if I knew when Mark Judge worked at the Potomac Safeway, then I would be able to be more helpful in that way. So I’m just using memories of when I got my driver’s license. I was 15 at the time. And I — I did not drive home from that party or to that party, and once I did have my drivers license, I liked to drive myself.

Mitchell: I’d assume the legal driving age was 16.

Ford: yes.

Mitchell: Ok.

(Notably, although Ford said she could pinpoint the date even better if she could confirm when Judge worked at the Safeway, the abbreviated FBI investigation into the incident has been limited to exclude an inquiry into that store’s employment records.)

In one of her more blatant mischaracterizations, Mitchell argues that Ford “struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name.” There is no basis for this statement. Here, Mitchell casts Ford’s choice not to identify Kavanaugh by name to her therapist or her husband as an inability to remember it. But at no point did Ford testify that she declined to name her assailant because she couldn’t recall who he was. In fact, she testified that she was “100 percent” certain that Kavanaugh was her attacker, that she was very familiar with who Kavanaugh was in high school, and in fact, “went out with” one of his friends who is featured prominently on his calendar.

By the end of the memo, Mitchell’s evidence against Ford’s credibility is very weak indeed. She claims that since Ford said she originally wanted her allegations to remain confidential, the timeline of her contacts with the Washington Post “raises questions.” The implication is that Ford’s decision to come forward was politically motivated, and therefore, less credible. Ford’s motive to come forward is probative of, though not dispositive of her credibility, but more importantly, giving an anonymous tip to the Washington Post is entirely consistent with wanting, well, anonymity. Ford only came forward, as she testified on Thursday, after word got out about her story, and reporters started waiting outside her home and calling her colleagues.


In her final, and perhaps her most frivolous argument, Mitchell suggests that Ford’s credibility is undermined by the fact that Ford “alleges that she struggled academically in college,” due to PTSD and anxiety from the assault, “but she has never made any similar claim about her last two years of high school.” This simply isn’t true. During Thursday’s hearing, Mitchell asked Ford whether the alleged attack “affected [her] life.” Ford responded: “The primary impact was in the initial four years after the event.” That would include the last two years of high school."

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