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The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony Thursday surrounding a decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. >> Read more trending news What was expected to be a simple nomination process has been marred by a growing number of women accusing the judge of of inappropriate, alcohol-fueled conduct in high school or college. Earlier this month, Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s, when they were both teenagers. She appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday to talk about the alleged assault. >> Kavanaugh hearing: Brett Kavanaugh calls hearing a ‘circus’ (live updates) At least two other women have also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker that he made unwanted advances toward her at a party in a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University. Attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday revealed that he is representing a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick, who says that she witnessed Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, getting girls drunk at parties in the 1980s so that they could be assaulted. Here are the latest updates: Update 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kavanaugh choked up Thursday during his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing to address a sexual misconduct allegation made against him by Ford. He said that his 10-year-old daughter told his wife in recent days that “we should pray for (Ford).” >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: LIVE UPDATES from inside the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing room “That’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old,” he said as his voice cracked. “We mean no ill will.” He forcefully repeated his prior denials of Ford’s claim that he sexually assaulted her at a gathering in the 1980s. “I am innocent,” he said. “I never committed sexual assault.” Update 3:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ford’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee ended Thursday afternoon after about four hours of testimony. Kavanaugh is expected to testify shortly. Update 11:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: President Donald Trump is watching Ford’s testimony from Air Force One as he travels Thursday from New York City to Washington, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told White House pool reporters. Update 11:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ford said in her opening statement Thursday at a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that she believed Kavanaugh was going to rape her during an encounter in the summer of 1982. She detailed the assault, which she said happened at a small gathering at a home in Maryland, at Thursday’s hearing. She told senators that Kavanaugh and Judge were visibly drunk during the party and that she had one beer herself. When she went upstairs to use the restroom, she says she was pushed into a bedroom across the hallway and shoved onto a bed. She said they locked the door behind them and that one of them turned up music that was playing. She said Kavanaugh ran his hands over her body and ground his hips into hers. She yelled, but said that Kavanaugh was too heavy to shift off her. As she tried to shout for help, she said Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth. >> Livestream: Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testify  “That was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life,” she said. “It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.” She said Judge jumped on the bed twice, and the second time caused her and Kavanaugh to roll off the bed. She ran from the room into the nearby bathroom, where she stayed until after she heard Kavanaugh and Judge leave the bedroom, she said. She said that after the assault, “I was too ashamed to tell anyone these details. I did not want to tell my parents that, at age 15, I was in a house without anyone present, drinking beer with boys.’ Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened Thursday’s public committee hearing over Ford’s allegations. Update 8:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ford will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing that could decide the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. EDT.  >> Click here for live updates from the hearing Update 7:58 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Swetnick, discussed her allegations in a video clip shared by Showtime’s “The Circus.” “It wasn’t that I wanted to come out one day before the hearing,” Swetnick said in the video, which marks the first time she has spoken publicly on camera about the incident. “It’s that circumstances brought it out that way. This is something that occurred a long time ago, and it’s not that I just thought about it. It’s been on my mind ever since the occurrence. “As far as it goes, Brett Kavanaugh is going for a seat where he’s going to have that on the Supreme Court for the rest of his life,” she continued. “And if he’s going to have that seat legitimately, all of these things should be investigated because from what I experienced firsthand, I don’t think he belongs on the Supreme Court.” >> Who is Rachel Mitchell, the woman who will be questioning Ford, Kavanaugh Swetnick added: “I just want the facts to come out, and I want it to be just, and I want the American people to have those facts and judge for themselves.” When asked which instances mentioned in her statement that she believes should disqualify Kavanaugh, she replied, “All of the above.”  “That’s not the type of behavior that anybody at any age should – I don’t think women should be treated that way, and I don’t think that any human being should be treated that way,” she said. >> Watch the clip here Update 7:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee heard about two more alleged incidents of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week, according to news reports. Kavanaugh has denied both incidents, which have been deemed less credible then those by the first three women who have come forward because they were made by anonymous individuals. >> Julie Swetnick steps forward as third accuser; Brett Kavanaugh denies accusations Update 7:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have again sent a letter to President Donald Trump demanding another FBI background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. “Judiciary Dems are standing united to call on Donald Trump to reopen the FBI background investigation into Brett Kavanaugh or withdraw his nomination,” Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a post on social media. Trump has continued to defend Kavanaugh since the first accusations surfaced and did so again in a press conference Wednesday. He also rejected the idea of reopening an investigation into Kavanaugh’s background. “The FBI told us they’ve investigated Brett Kavanaugh five, six times over the years,” he said. However Trump left open the possibility of withdrawing Brett Kavanaugh if he “thought he was guilty of something like this.” Update 5:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump held a rare solo press conference with reporters in New York Wednesday afternoon where he again defended his  embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling him “the highest person.” Trump also blamed the Democrats again for the controversy surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying there was plenty of time to investigate Kavanaugh on the sexual misconduct allegations, but that Democrats waited until his nomination hearing was over. >> Related: Kavanaugh hearing: What time, what channel, who is testifying, how to watch “They know it’s a big fat con job,” he said. “These are false accusations in certain cases,” Trump said, asking “Why did they wait so long?” The first accusations of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford were reported by The Washington Post on Sept. 16, just a few days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, even though Ford had contacted committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein several months earlier.  “Thirty-six years there’s no charge. All of a sudden the hearings are over and this comes out,” the president said. For the first time, though, Trump seemed open to hearing what Ford has to say about the incident involving Kavanaugh and said he’s open to “changing my mind.” “I’m going to see what happens tomorrow.”  >> Related: Who is Julie Swetnick, third woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: Attorneys for Ford have provided the Senate Judiciary Committee with the results of a polygraph test she took last month that was focused on her allegation against Kavanaugh, The Associated Press reported. Documents obtained by the AP indicated Ford took the test Aug. 7. She  told the Post earlier this month that she had a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August. The test showed that the probability that Ford is lying about her accusation is ‘close to zero,’ CNN reported. However, the AP noted that the test hasn’t been independently verified by experts. Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump called new decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh that were unveiled Wednesday “ridiculous.” “It’s a horrible con game. I think the people are finding it out,” Trump said while speaking with reporters at the United Nations in New York. “Hopefully over the next couple of days it will be settled up and solved and we will have a Supreme Court Justice who will go down as the greatest ever.” Trump has repeatedly voiced support for Kavanaugh. “I think it’s really working out very well,” Trump said Wednesday. “I think it’s doing well.” Update 1:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump and Avenatti traded barbs  on Twitter Wednesday after new allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh surfaced. Avenatti also represents adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her efforts to break a non-disclosure agreement meant to bar her from talking about an affair she says she had with Trump a decade before his election. “Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said. “He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships — a total low-life!” Avenatti responded to the tweet within minutes, reminding Trump that his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty last month to eight charges, including multiple counts of tax evasion and a campaign finance charge stemming from so-called “hush money” payments made to Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. >> Cohen pleads guilty to 8 charges, says Trump told him to pay off Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal “You are (a) habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation,” Avenatti wrote. “You are so inept that your ‘best and brightest’ are Cohen and (Trump attorney Rudy) Giuliani. Let’s go.” Update 12:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released Kavanaugh’s written testimony one day before a scheduled hearing to address the sexual misconduct allegation Ford made against him. ‘There has been a frenzy to come up with something — anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious — that will block a vote on my nomination,’ Kavanaugh wrote. ‘These are last-minute smears, pure and simple.” Kavanaugh said he spent most of his high school years ‘focused on academics, sports, church and service.’ However, he acknowledged that he drank alcohol and said he wasn’t always on his best behavior. >> 5 things to know about the Supreme Court ‘I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today,’ he wrote. ‘I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many. In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now. “But that’s not why we are here today. What I’ve been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehavior. I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes.’ Ford and Kavanaugh are expected to appear Thursday for a public hearing before Senate Judiciary Committee. Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: A third woman who is accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct has been identified by attorney Michael Avenatti. Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that Republicans “could not be nicer” in the way they’ve handled allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Kavanaugh. >> Supreme Court nomination: What happens after Trump makes his pick? “They could have pushed (Kavanaugh’s nomination) through two and a half weeks ago and you wouldn’t be talking about it right now,” he told reporters at the United Nations in New York. “The Republicans could not be nicer, could not be more respectful to the process — certainly could not be more respectful to the woman.” The president also reiterated his support for Kavanaugh and accused the Democrats again of playing “a con game” with the sexual misconduct allegations. “You don’t find people like this,” Trump said. “(Kavanaugh’s) an absolute gem, and he’s been treated very unfairly be the Democrats, who are playing a con game. They know what they’re doing — it’s a con. They go into a backroom and theey talk to each other and they laugh at what they’re getting away with.” Update 8:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: Kavanaugh’s lawyers shared pages from the Supreme Court nominee’s 1982 calendar in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday night, USA Today and National Law Journal are reporting. His legal team plans to use the calendar pages to defend against Ford’s allegations, the newspaper reported. >> See the pages here Meanwhile, both outlets also reported that attorneys for Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Ford, submitted signed declarations from four people corroborating her story. >> Read the statements here Update 10:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Republican leaders have tapped Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford and SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, according to a statement from committee chair Chuck Grassley. Mitchell, a career sex crimes prosecutor, will question Ford and Kavanaugh on Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school in the early 1980s. >> Brett Kavanaugh denies sexual assault allegations in first TV interview: ‘I never did any such thing’ “The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators  an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns,” Grassley said. Mitchell is on leave from the Maricopa County Prosecutor’s Office in order to participate in the hearing Thursday. Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein called the planned vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination “outrageous.” “For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous,” the California Democrat said in a statement Tuesday. Feinstein accused the GOP of creating an unfair process. “First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now Republicans don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote, she said. Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, however, denied the accusations.  >> SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations “Still taking this 1 step at a time,” Grassley said in a post on social media. Grassley said that committee rules require three days notice before a vote.  “So we’re following regular order,” he said. He also said if the committee isn’t ready to vote after Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s testimony Thursday, then they’ll postpone it. Update 6:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Friday morning on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ford is set to testify before the committee on Thursday about the assault she said she suffered at the hands of Kavanaugh at a party when the two were still in high school. There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will get a chance to tell her story before the committee votes, but committee staffers interviewed Kavanaugh Tuesday about her allegations and he denied them again, according to news reports. Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: An attorney representing Ramirez said Tuesday that his client wants the FBI to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh. “We remain adamant that an FBI investigation, where all witnesses are questioned under threat of perjury, is the only way to get the truth,” attorney John Clune wrote on Twitter. Clune added that Ramirez stands by her account of drunken wrongdoing by Kavanaugh, as told to The New Yorker and published Sunday. Original report: President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of using the allegations to play a “con game” with Kavanaugh. The president claimed that Deborah Ramirez, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of making unwanted sexual advances toward her during a college party in the 1980s, said, “She was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up, and she doesn’t know it was him, but it might have been.” “This is a con game being played by the Democrats,” Trump said. Ramirez is the second woman to go public with accusations against Kavanaugh. She told The New Yorker in a story published Sunday that he made unwanted advances toward her during a party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University. >> Second Kavanaugh accuser: Who is Deborah Ramirez? University professor Christine Blasey Ford is expected to provide testimony Thursday at a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about a separate alleged encounter she says she had with the Supreme Court nominee when they were both teenagers. Ford told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has issued several denials of the allegations. >> Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court? ‘I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,’ Kavanaugh said in an interview that aired Monday on Fox News. ‘I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect.’ The Supreme Court nominee is also expected to testify at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.



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