Kavanaugh hearing once again in question as Christine Ford raises new concerns

An attorney for the woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago has raised fresh concerns about the format for Thursday's highly anticipated hearing with her and the Supreme Court nominee.

The letter raising those issues once again could throw into doubt the scheduled hearing, which has been the subject of ever-changing negotiations since Christine Blasey Ford first went public.

In the message, sent to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley late Monday and obtained by Fox News, her attorney took issue with apparent plans for an outside counsel to ask questions -- as well as fiery comments made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accusing Democrats of a "smear campaign."

“We are finding it difficult to reconcile your letter and [staff member Mike Davis'] note with the Majority Leader’s speech this afternoon on the Senate floor. As Dr. Blasey Ford has been clear since her experience was first made public, she came forward because she believes it is her civic duty to tell the truth about the sexual assault she experienced,” wrote Michael Bromwich, her attorney and a former Justice Department inspector general.

“You said in your letter that you intend to provide a ‘fair and credible’ process ... Yet earlier today, the Majority Leader dismissed Dr. Ford’s experience as a ‘smear campaign,’ claiming mistakenly that the witnesses’ statements to the Committee constitute ‘a complete lack of evidence,’ implying that there has been a thorough investigation,” the letter read.


Bromwich specifically raised concerns with an email from Davis that apparently suggested an outside counsel would question Ford.

“This hearing plan that Mr. Davis described does not appear designed to provide Dr. Blasey Ford with fair and respectful treatment,” Bromwich wrote. “In our view, the hiring of an unnamed ‘experienced sex crimes prosecutor,’ as Mr. Davis described in his email, is contrary to the Majority’s repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee’s members to fulfill their constitutional obligations.”

He added: “It is also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a ‘circus,’ as well as Dr. Blasey Ford’s requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning. This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate.”

He went on to request the prosecutor's resume "immediately" and asked to meet with her Tuesday.

A Judiciary Committee source told Fox News that Republicans hired a female attorney with experience as a sex crimes prosecutor. At this point, the attorney's identity has not been revealed.

A Republican aide also told Fox News the committee reserves its right to have counsel ask questions of Ford, but beyond that has not determined how to proceed.

The note is the latest twist in the tumultuous talks between the committee and Ford. Her story first emerged in the media, though was relayed over the summer to the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein,  who has since faced GOP criticism for sitting on the accusations citing Ford's initial desire for confidentiality.

Ford accused Kavanaugh of covering her mouth and trying to remove her clothing at a party in the early 1980s, when both were in high school.

The committee has offered for Ford to share her testimony in public or private, or over the phone. She and her team previously accepted an invitation to testify Thursday.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford's allegation, as well as that of another woman who alleges he exposed himself to her while at Yale University.

"What I know is the truth, and the truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone," Kavanaugh told Fox News' Martha MacCallum in an exclusive interview on Monday.

Kavanaugh also told MacCallum that he would not withdraw his name from consideration over the allegations.

"I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity, and I know I'm telling the truth," the judge said. "I know my lifelong record and I'm not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people."

Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.