One of the stranger aspects of last week’s hearing between Dr. Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, was the handling of Republican questions via Rachel Mitchell. While Mitchell is a seasoned and experienced professional, she was put into a difficult setting which resulted in interruptions and a loss of momentum in her questioning. While many Conservatives questioned the decision, I think in the end it may prove to be a major asset.
Mitchell released a report over the weekend detailing her findings and they don’t look good if you’re in Dr. Ford’s corner:
A “he said, she said” case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that. Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them. For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee. Nor do I believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.Rachel Mitchell
I’ll provide the available report at the bottom of this article for reference. She does an excellent job at providing the kind of facts based analysis that you would expect from someone within our judicial system. Some of the highlights include:
- Dr. Ford has previously struggled to identify Kavanaugh by name
- Dr. Ford’s description of the incident has changed to become less specific.
- Dr. Ford has no memory of key details of the night in question that could help corroborate her account.
- Dr. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as attending the event.
- Dr. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been consistent.
- Dr. Ford has struggled to recall important recent events related to her allegations.
- Dr. Ford’s description of psychological impacts raises questions.
Some of the most interesting information to me, is at the end of the report. Mitchell discusses some of the aspects of psychological impacts Dr. Ford described as caused by this incident. The aforementioned fear of flying was a centerpiece of the reason the hearing had to be delayed until Thursday. Come to find out, Dr. Ford flies quite a lot, though she claimed it was easier when it was for vacation. She has flown to Hawaii, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, and even flew to Washington D.C. for the hearing.
Perhaps the biggest detail was the mentioning of both her academic struggles as well as the use of the word “contributed” with respect to describing the impact of the event. As a professional psychologist, I would expect Dr. Ford to be precise with her language regarding her own conditions. When describing the impacts of the alleged event, Dr. Ford mentioned to the Washington Times that these events “contributed” to her condition, and not “caused” her condition. However, she gave different testimony stating she couldn’t think of “nothing as striking as” the alleged assault from Judge Kavanaugh.
It is my theory that this inconsistency in language is why she won’t release her therapist notes to the FBI. There may contain some piece of information there which would point to other factors beyond the alleged assault. No doubt there will be further investigation as time goes on. In the mean time, be sure to read Mitchell’s report as it is the only fact based report thus far we have seen. It is also, given that it came from an experienced prosecutor, the only one that matters.
Full report available courtesy of the Washington Times.