07:27 - Source: CNN
Kavanaugh accuser tentatively agrees to Thursday hearing
Washington CNN —  

Christine Blasey Ford sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley saying she feels a civic duty in coming forward with her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and that although she is frightened, “my fear will not hold me back from testifying.”

In the September 22 letter, obtained by CNN, Ford said her decision to first report the alleged assault to her congresswoman, California Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, “was a very difficult one, but I felt that this was something that a citizen couldn’t NOT do.”

Ford alleges when she and Kavanaugh were in high school, he sexually assaulted her at a party, where he pushed her into a bedroom and tried to remove her clothing, at one point covering her mouth with his hand. She said another boy, Mark Judge, was also in the room. Both Kavanaugh and Judge deny the allegation.

Ford, who is planning to testify along with Kavanaugh at an open committee hearing on her allegations on Thursday, said she thought knowledge of Kavanaugh’s actions could be useful to Grassley and those in charge of choosing the next Supreme Court justice from among various candidates.

“I felt agony yet urgency and a civic duty to let it be known, in a confidential manner, prior to the nominee being selected,” Ford wrote.

“My original intent was first and foremost to be a helpful citizen – in a confidential way that would minimize collateral damage to all families and friends involved,” Ford wrote in the letter.

Ford stated she would welcome the opportunity to meet with Grassley and other senators directly, person to person, and answer any questions they had.

“I have one motivation in coming forward – to tell the truth about what Mr. Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge did to me. My sincere desire is to be helpful to persons making the decision.”

Ford also wrote that she has been the target of death threats and her family has had to relocate.

“While the nationwide outpouring of love has been heartwarming, I am spending considerable time managing death threats, avoiding people following me on freeways, and disconcerting media intrusion, including swarms of vans at my home and unauthorized persons entering my classroom and medical settings where I work,” Ford said in the letter.

Her goal, she said, is to return to her workplace as soon as it is deemed safe for her and her students.

Ford said she has been able to hire security, “through gracious persons here and across the country.”

“While I am frightened, please know, my fear will not hold me back from testifying and you will be provided with answers to all of your questions,” Ford said. “I ask for fair and respectful treatment.”

In response, Grassley sent a letter to Ford on Monday, saying he is “committed to fair and respectful treatment of you, as you’ve requested.”

In the letter, Grassley stated he should have been given the letter Ford sent to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, detailing her allegation against Kavanaugh, “so that what it said could have been considered in August and during the week of September 4, when the committee hearing was held, including a senators-only session of the hearing.”

Grassley wrote that when Ford’s allegations were publicly reported by The Washington Post on September 16, he went to work investigating them with his committee resources “by contacting and interviewing everyone whom the article indicates was present at the gathering in question.”

“It’s important to me that you personally know how sincere and thorough this effort has been, including my commitment to make sure committee members and other senators are able to hear directly from you,” Grassley wrote to Ford. “The arrangements made to re-open and continue the confirmation hearing on Thursday will allow you to testify and also will allow the nominee to address the allegations made against him. Both of you deserve a credible and fair process in a secure and professional setting.”

Grassley thanked Ford for sending her personal letter to him and wrote that he appreciated the direct communication. He added a handwritten note at the bottom of the letter that read, “P.S. I look forward to your testimony.”

CNN’s Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report