Kavanaugh: I Have Never Sexually Assaulted Anyone

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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday vehemently denied Christine Blasey Ford's accusation that he sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982, when both were teenagers."I have never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever," Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I have never done this to her or to anyone."Hours earlier, Ford told the panel she was "100 percent" certain that an inebriated Kavanaugh and a friend of his, Mark Judge, locked her in a bedroom and that Kavanaugh forced himself on top of her, groped her and covered her mouth when she screamed for help.Kavanaugh, who is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, told senators he attended no such party. He accused Democrats of mounting a calculated attack for political gain and engaging in grotesque character assassination.The judge vowed he would not be intimidated into withdrawing. Ford's testimonyEarlier in the day, Ford testified that she feared that Kavanaugh was "going to accidentally kill" her during the alleged incident in 1982.She said what she remembered most was Kavanaugh's and Judge's "uproarious laughter" during the incident and their "having fun at my expense."Democratic senators repeatedly praised Ford for her courage in coming forward. Later, they challenged Kavanaugh about his drinking habits and suggested that he join them in requesting an FBI investigation of the accusations against him. A prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, asked questions on behalf of Senate Republicans on the committee for most of the hearing. She pressed Ford about timelines and peripheral issues but did not challenge her basic account of sexual assault. Mitchell asked Kavanaugh a series of direct questions about possible sexual misconduct, all of which he denied.Senators reactKavanaugh's testimony elicited sympathy from a visibly angry Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who said the nominee had been subjected to a politically motivated sham. "You're looking for a fair [confirmation] process?" Graham asked Kavanaugh. "You came to the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend."Earlier, California Democrat Kamala Harris sided with Ford, saying, "I believe you and I think many Americans believe you." President Donald Trump selected Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was a "swing" vote on the Supreme Court and sometimes sided with liberal justices on key cases. Kavanaugh's confirmation could solidify a conservative majority on the court for a generation.VOA's Jim Malone, Wayne Lee and Kenneth Schwartz contributed to this report.

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