25 September, 2018
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared on American television Monday to say he never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any other time in his life.
He also said he would not let "false accusations" force him to withdraw as a candidate for a life term as a Supreme Court justice.
Two women have accused Kavanaugh of assaulting them in the early 1980s. One woman, Christine Blasey Ford, says Kavanaugh attacked her at a party Both were in high school at the time. She says Kavanaugh held her down on a bed, touched her sexually and tried to take off her clothes. Ford says one of Kavanaugh's friends was a witness to the assault.
In an interview Monday with Fox News, Kavanaugh said it is possible he may have met Ford. But he said they were not friends and did not have similar friend groups. He also said he did not remember being at a party with her.
"I was not at the party described," Kavanaugh said.
Kavanaugh was asked if he thought there was any chance Ford misunderstood anything that happened between them.
"I have never had any sexual or physical activity with Dr. Ford," Kavanaugh answered. "I've never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise."
Both Ford and Kavanaugh plan to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the accusation on Thursday. The committee holds confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees.
A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party while both were college students at Yale University. Ramirez said in an article published Sunday by The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh put his sex organs close to her face, causing her to touch him without her consent.
Kavanaugh told Fox reporters, "I never did any such thing."
He added, "If such a thing had happened, it would have been the talk of the campus."
It is unusual for nominees to the Supreme Court to speak with reporters during their nomination period. In fact, judicial selection expert Russell Wheeler told the Associated Press that he does not know of a similar media interview by a Supreme Court nominee in the past 100 years.
President Donald Trump chose Kavanaugh as his nominee in July. Supporters hope that Kavanaugh's nomination can be confirmed before the start of the court's next term on October 1.
But critics have accused Republicans of not completing a full examination of Kavanaugh. They want the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen its background investigation on him and look into the sex abuse accusations against him.
Some opponents also accuse Republican lawmakers of treating Ford poorly at a time when victims of sex crimes are speaking out across the country.
Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both say they are determined to get Kavanaugh on the court. They have described the accusations as false and politically influenced.
Trump said Monday the accusations were among "the single most unfair, unjust thing to happen to a candidate for anything."
I'm Caty Weaver.
And I'm Ashley Thompson.
The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English, with materials from VOA News. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
Words in This Story
assault - v. the crime of trying or threatening to hurt someone physically
interview - n. a meeting between a reporter and another person in order to get information for a news story
otherwise - adv. in a different way or manner
background - n. the experiences, knowledge, education, etc., in a person's past
testify - v. to talk and answer questions about something especially in a court of law while formally promising that what you are saying is true
expose (oneself) - v. to show your sexual organs in public
consent - n. permission for something to happen or be done
campus - n. the area and buildings around a university, college, school, etc.
determined - adj. having a strong feeling that you are going to do something and that you will not allow anyone or anything to stop you