A woman who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has tentatively agreed to testify before a Senate panel on Thursday, according to media reports.
The agreement is in the works for California professor Christine Blasey Ford to possibly testify on Thursday, but details have yet to be finalized, CNN and other media reported late on Saturday. The report said that her lawyers will talk again on Sunday with Senate officials.
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley had set a Saturday afternoon deadline for Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her at a high school party 36 years ago, to decide whether and how she will testify.
“Dr. Ford accepts the committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, Ford’s attorneys, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”
The news site Politico cited a source as saying representatives of Ford and the committee would talk on Sunday to work out the specifics of her testimony.
A White House official said it appeared that Ford’s lawyers were trying to prolong negotiations.
“We look at this statement as a delay tactic,” the official said. “The White House sees this as not an acceptance.
“Senate Republicans went from looking accommodating and generous to looking like they are getting played unless they see this as stalling and a delay tactic.”
White House spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the statement from Ford’s team did not appear to move them closer to a fair hearing and that Kavanaugh was eager to testify as soon as possible.
Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the Republican-controlled Judiciary committee, also expressed skepticism.
“Worth noting that this is exactly where we were on Monday morning,” he said on Twitter. “Without agreeing to a date, time, and terms we are no closer to hearing from Dr. Ford then we were when her lawyers said Dr. Ford was willing to testify during their media tour 6 days ago.”