Kavanaugh accuser says alleged assault ‘altered my life’

The first of three woman to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct has said the assault “drastically altered” her life.

Prof Christine Blasey Ford’s written testimony describes how the alleged incident between her and the judge has had a “lasting impact” on her.

Prof Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are due to testify before a Senate panel about her allegations on Thursday.

Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.

“It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court,” Prof Ford wrote in testimony provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of Thursday’s hearing. “My responsibility is to tell the truth.”

Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the US’s highest court has been delayed in the wake of the allegations against him.

What will Prof Ford say?

Mrs Ford alleges Mr Kavanaugh tried to drunkenly remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and groped her at a party when she was 15 and he was 17.

“Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details,” she wrote in her prepared statement.

“I tried to convince myself that because Brett did not rape me, I should be able to move on and just pretend that it had never happened.”

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She says Mr Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge locked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house in Washington DC suburbs in the summer of 1982.

“Both Brett and Mark were drunkenly laughing during the attack,” she said. Mr Judge has disputed the allegations, saying he does not recall the incident.

“I believed [Brett Kavanaugh] was going to rape me,” she said. The fact that he covered her mouth she says “terrified” her the most, and has had “the most lasting impact”.

“It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”

When Mr Judge jumped on the bed, she says “we toppled over and Brett was no longer on top of me.” She was then able to run from the room.

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What other accusations does Kavanaugh face?

Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale University classmate, has said that Mr Kavanaugh once exposed himself to her at a dormitory party in the 1980s.

A third claim alleges he committed serious sexual assault in high school.

In a sworn affidavit, Julie Swetnick alleged that Mr Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s.

She says she was the victim of a gang rape in 1982 at a party attended by the judge.

In a statement, the judge said he did not know Ms Swetnick and her “ridiculous” allegations “never happened”.

Why does this matter?

Democrats have continued to call for Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court to be delayed to allow for the claims to be fully investigated.

All 10 Democratic members of Senate Judiciary Committee have called on President Trump to “immediately withdraw” Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination.

The committee chairman, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, has left open the possibility that its members may not vote on the nomination by the end of the week.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said he was open to changing his mind on his Supreme Court nominee once he had heard Prof Ford testify.

But the president continued to defend Judge Kavanaugh, calling him “one of the highest quality people” he had ever met and described the accusations as “a con job” by the Democrats.

The nine-member Supreme Court is the final word on US law, including highly contentious social issues and challenges to government policy.

Judges are nominated by the president and hold the position for life and Mr Kavanaugh could give the court a more conservative character for decades.

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