UPDATE 2 – US: Ford '100%' confident Kavanaugh assaulted her


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – University professor Christine Blasey Ford dismissed suggestions Thursday she could have confused the identity of the man who she says sexually assaulted her, maintaining it was Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who later issued a passionate and oftentimes livid denial of her allegations.

Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee comes as Kavanaugh, 53, now faces public charges from three women following her bombshell disclosures earlier this month, complicating the conservative judge's path to the U.S.'s highest judicial body.

Ford was unwavering in her recollection of her attacker, telling the committee she was "100 percent” certain it was Kavanaugh who, along with high school friend Mark Judge in 1982, locked her in a room at a high school party and pinned her to a bed while attempting to forcibly undress her.

“I believed he was going to rape me," she said. "It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me. Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack. They seemed to be having a good time. Mark was urging Brett on, and at times telling him to stop."

But that was not what Ford said she remembers most vividly from the assault. That would be Kavanaugh and Judge's "uproarious laughter".

"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense," she said, referring to a part of the brain that is responsible for creating and retrieving memories.

She was visibly shaken by the recollection.

"I was, you know, underneath one of them while the two laughed — two friends having a really good time with one another."

During emotional and oftentimes furious testimony, Kavanaugh maintained his innocence, saying his family and name "have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional accusations" during the 10 days that passed since Ford came forward.

The jurist told the panel he is willing to do "whatever the committee wants" but later refused to answer a question about whether he would ask for the FBI to probe Ford's allegations.

Republicans are seeking to confirm U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to America's top court ahead of November's midterm elections, where Democrats are threatening to take a Senate majority. That would throw a wrench in any of the president's plans to appoint a nominee to America's highest court.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham launched a fiery broadside against the committee's Democrats, angrily telling them "What you want to do is destroy this guy's life," referring to Kavanaugh, "hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You said that!"

"When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello, because I voted for them. I would never do to them what you've done to this guy," he told Kavanaugh, referring to two of the Supreme Court's left-leaning justices.

Kavanaugh himself charged the Judiciary Committee Democrats with replacing ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy,' referring to the unique constitutional duties given to the Senate.

Ford insisted she was not testifying because she wanted to, maintaining she is "terrified" of doing so but believes it is her "civic duty" to speak before the Senate.

In a late Thursday tweet, Trump continued to defend his top court pick, saying "Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him."

"His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist," he said.

Senators on the Judiciary Committee are expected to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination Friday.

It is unclear if Kavanaugh still has the necessary support from Senate Republicans to be confirmed. Democrats have strongly thrown their support behind Ford.