Yale Law professors call for ‘neutral’ probe of Kavanaugh sexual assault accusation

Brett Kavanaugh

Washington – As the partisan tussle over the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court continued Friday, Yale Law School faculty weighed in with a letter asking that the FBI or another “neutral factfinder” investigate an accusation that the nominee sexually assaulted another teen at a high school party decades ago.

The letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was signed by 48 Yale School faculty members, is posted on the school’s website.

“With so much at stake for the Supreme Court and the nation, we are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public’s confidence in the Court,” faculty members wrote.

Also on Friday, several federal agencies agreed to provide some of the documents requested by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee pertaining to Kavanaugh’s tenure in the White House.

Kavanaugh, a judge on a federal court of appeals, is a graduate of Yale Law School and was on his way to confirmation by the Senate to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy when Christine Blasey Ford, 51, came forward with her story. She said a drunken Kavanaugh, accompanied by high school friend Mark Judge, pushed her into a bedroom and onto a bed,  groped her and tried to take off her clothes, placing his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.

Before and after Ford’s allegations became public, the Senate Judiciary Committee received a number of letters in support and in opposition to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, including a favorable one from the nominee’s former law school colleagues.

In its most recent letter, Yale Law School faculty members echo calls from congressional Democrats that an investigation of the alleged incident be completed before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the accusations and moves forward on the nomination.

“Those at the FBI or others tasked with such an investigation must have adequate time to investigate facts,” their letter said. “Fair process requires evidence from all parties with direct knowledge and consultation of experts when evaluating such evidence.”

While Ford also asked that an investigation into the alleged attack be completed before she testifies, her attorneys are negotiating with GOP Senate leaders about her possible appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

It appears Senate GOP leaders are offering to hold the hearing on Wednesday after Ford asked for a Thursday hearing, and that they are meeting some of Ford’s requests but not others.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump went on the offensive Friday, calling on Ford to produce a police report and telling senators to move ahead with the confirmation vote.

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump tweeted. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

Also on Friday, a federal judge ordered the National Archives, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Justice to begin immediate negotiations on a schedule for releasing some of the records pertaining to  Kavanaugh’s tenure in the George W. Bush White House.

Blumenthal led an effort by Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats to sue to force several federal agencies to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request.

The suit initially asked the CIA and the National Archives to hand over the decades-old paperwork, but the Senate Democrats on Friday expanded their suit to include the Justice Department.

“We are very pleased to have secured a commitment from these federal agencies to produce documents, which stands in stark contrast to the posturing of the Trump Administration and Senate Republicans over the last eight weeks,” the senators said in a joint statement.

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