Blasey Ford asks Senate to limit press access for Kavanaugh hearing
Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers have asked senators to limit the press who will be allowed in the room to cover Thursday’s hearing with her and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and sought to dictate at least some of the outlets.
Coverage is one of a number of issues Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers are negotiating with Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Michael Bromwich said in emails sent Tuesday afternoon that he was requesting access for three “robocams,” three specific wire services, photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and one unspecified service, and a pool reporter for newspapers and magazines. In a follow-up email he specified that the robocams should be operated by “the CSPAN TV pool,” and said he also wanted space for a radio reporter.
Those emails were among several seen by The Washington Times detailing the tense negotiations between Ms. Blasey Ford’s team and committee staff.
While committees sometimes limit press based on space at hearings, and some witnesses have arranged to have their identities shielded, longtime Capitol Hill watchers struggled to think of precedent for a witness dictating terms of press coverage.
In Ms. Blasey Ford’s case she has received threats since she went public with her story, and her team has insisted the committee guarantee her safety as she testifies, as well as limited access to the hearing.
Ms. Blasey Ford has accused Judge Kavanaugh of an attempted sexual assault at a party when they were both high school students in the early 1980s. He has vehemently denied the accusation, and as yet no contemporaneous witness has come forward to verify her allegations.
She has agreed to testify but has laid out a number of parameters and is objecting to some of Republicans’ plans.
One major sticking point is the GOP’s plans to use a female lawyer hired specifically for this hearing to ask questions on behalf of the Republican senators. That lawyer will question both Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Blasey Ford, according to one email from Mike Davis, the chief counsel for nominations to Chairman Chuck Grassley.
Debra Katz, another of Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers, said in a Tuesday morning message they still haven’t been told who that outside lawyer will be.
“Please let us know if you have similarly withheld the name of this person from Mr. Kavanaugh and his counsel. If you have not, which we assume to be the case, can you please explain the disparate treatment?” she wrote. “Please also advise whether Mr. Kavanaugh and his counsel have been given an opportunity to meet with this individual. We would similarly like the opportunity to meet with her at her soonest availability.”
She said in the email that Mr. Davis was refusing to talk by phone, so Ms. Blasey Ford’s team was asking for an in-person meeting.
A spokesman for Mr. Grassley didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Bromwich’s office declined to comment.