Experienced Sex-Crimes Prosecutor to Question Kavanaugh and Ford as Vote Announced

Jennifer Rubin

Both Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday for a public hearing to address Ford's accusations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.

Instead, Rachel Mitchell, a female prosecutor from Arizona whose "life mission" has been to investigate sex crimes, is interviewing Ford on behalf of the Republican party.

But Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said using a trained lawyer allows for less grandstanding by senators with political aspirations.

Mitchell asked Ford the kind of questions you would expect a detective or investigator to ask a complainant (or, if you prefer, a victim) during the course of an investigation. She is also on leave from her position as division chief of the Special Victims Division, which consists of sex-crimes and family-violence bureaus. "I have never seen her try to attack a witness by becoming super aggressive". And they specifically looked for a woman to question Ford.

Mitchell typically tries to put people accused of sex crimes in prison, but on Thursday (Friday NZ time) she was in the unusual and hard position of trying to chip away at the credibility of a woman.

Despite Mitchell's accolades, Griffin thinks Mitchell is a "disgrace to women".

Rick Romley, the former top county prosecutor in metro Phoenix who was once Mitchell's boss, praised her for a career devoted to helping victims. She asked the California research psychologist to recall trivial details from the night in question, trying to poke holes in her story. Mitchell "formed a multidisciplinary team to develop a victim-centered Sexual Assault Protocol for investigations, forensic medical exams, victim notification and prosecution of sex offenses, according to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office".

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Michael Bromwich, an attorney for Ford, said previously in a statement, "This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate".

Sam Dash, the chief counsel, became nearly universally known for his questioning of witnesses after he was appointed to the post by Chairman Sam Ervin, a North Carolina Democrat.

But because Mitchell was taking the place of Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee, she was allotted only five minutes at a time for questioning. "Always extremely prepared. A prosecutor's prosecutor", said Cindi Nannetti, who was Mitchell's former supervisor at the county attorney's office and her co-counsel on many high-profile cases.

At one point, in response to Mitchell's comment about how this wasn't the best forum to explore her allegations, Ford agreed it would have been better if she could have testified at home without having to do this publicly in D.C. - except she could have done exactly that.

Mitchell's Thursday performance has the White House anxious.

The hearing focused on Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh emphatically denied these claims following Ford's testimony.

"We as prosecutors can only file cases that we feel there's a reasonable likelihood of conviction and so that is not really her role tomorrow", says Nanetti.

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