Rachel Mitchell, an Arizona sex crimes prosecutor, has been tapped by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to question U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who claims Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were high school students.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said late Tuesday in a statement that "The majority members have followed the bipartisan recommendation to hire as staff counsel for the committee an experienced career sex-crimes prosecutor to question the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing.
"The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns,” Grassley said in a statement released late Tuesday. “I’m very appreciative that Rachel Mitchell has stepped forward to serve in this important and serious role.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford will appear before the committee on Thursday to testify under oath.
Ford alleges that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to take her clothes off during a party at a home in Maryland in the early 1980s when the two were teenagers.
Ford sent a letter to her congresswoman in July outlining her accusations against Kavanaugh. The letter was then forwarded to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee tasked with making a recommendation as to whether Kavanaugh’s nomination should be voted on by the full Senate.
In the letter, Ford asked that her name and her story be kept confidential. News that the letter existed and that Ford was its author was revealed by The Washington Post on Sept. 16.
While Mitchell will question Kavanaugh and Ford, Democrats on the committee say they will ask their own questions of the two.
The committee will vote Friday on whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination be voted on by the full Senate, according to Grassley
Here is what we know about Mitchell:
- Mitchell has been a prosecutor since 1993, and currently has the title of deputy county attorney in Maricopa County (Arizona).
- She has worked for 26 years for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
- For the past 12 years, she has run the sex-crimes bureau of the Special Victims Division of the county attorney’s office. The office prosecutes sex-related cases such as child molestation and adult sexual assault cases.
- She is on leave from her job.
- According to a press release from Grassley, she has won several awards. In 2013, Mitchell received the David R. White Excellence in Victim Advocacy Award from the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council. In 2006, she was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and she received the Outstanding Child Abuse Legal Professional Award for Excellence from the Arizona Children’s Justice Task Force. And in 2003, she was recognized by Governor Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard as the Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year.
- According to The Arizona Republic, the Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments recommended Mitchell to be one of several candidates for Maricopa County Superior Court judge.
- Mitchell is a registered Republican.