Christine Blasey Ford, the California psychologist who accuses Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, has become the target of “vicious harassment” and death threats, her lawyers said, prompting supporters to raise money for her security.
Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday that the threats have forced Blasey and her family to move from their home. Her email has been hacked, they added, and she’s been impersonated online.
“In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and from fellow citizens across our country,” the lawyers wrote. “At the same time, however, her worst fears have materialized.”
Heidi Feldman, a law professor at Georgetown University, started a GoFundMe page on Tuesday to help keep Blasey and her family safe. As of early Wednesday, it had raised more than $53,000.
“Let’s create a fund to cover her security expenses, to do just a bit to make it easier for women in her position to come forward despite great risks,” Feldman said before deciding to pause the fundraiser until she learns more about Blasey’s security needs.
Feldman said in an email to HuffPost on Wednesday that enthusiasm for helping Blasey has been “extraordinary and heartening.”
“I started the fundraiser because I was distressed at the prospect of the heavy security expenses faced by Dr. Blasey and a strong desire to assist her in a concrete way, to make it even just a bit safer for her to participate in thorough vetting of a Supreme Court nominee,” Feldman wrote. “Within an hour of posting the fundraiser it was clear that others appreciated the expense Dr. Blasey faces and shared my sense that we have a collective obligation to ensure the safety of those who speak in the public interest.”
Blasey has called for an FBI investigation into her story before she testifies to the Judiciary Committee to “ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.”
Grassley on Tuesday downplayed the need for an FBI probe and repeated his invitation for Blasey to testify on Monday.
“We’ve offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee, as her attorney said yesterday she was willing to do,” Grassley said in a statement. “We offered her a public or a private hearing as well as staff-led interviews, whichever makes her most comfortable. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”
Blasey sent a confidential letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) over the summer accusing Kavanaugh of groping her, trying to remove her clothing and clasping his hand over her mouth to silence her when he was 17 and she was 15.
Feinstein acknowledged the existence of the document last week, and Blasey came forward in a Washington Post article published on Sunday. She said Monday she was willing to testify.
This article has been updated to include Heidi Feldman’s comments.