Rachel Mitchell is under intense scrutiny for criticizing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony.

Time/YouTube

Rachel Mitchell criticized Dr. Ford’s testimony and was promptly shut down by Twitter

Mitchell's claims are troubling, to say the least.

 

Ana Valens

IRL

Published Oct 1, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 5:16 am CDT

Last week, Republican senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee chose Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell as an outside counsel to question Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Now, Mitchell is under fire after telling Republican senators that Dr. Ford’s accusations are “weaker” than “a ‘he said, she said’ case.”

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On Sunday, Mitchell penned a memo to Republican senators that tore into Dr. Ford’s testimony, painting her accusations as unfit for a legal trial. Titled “Analysis of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Allegations,” Mitchell implies Ford’s testimony is uncorroborated and unsubstantiated in the memo, which leaked to the press late Sunday evening.

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“Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them,” Mitchell claims, according to NBC News producer Frank Thorp V. “For the reasons discussed below, I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee.”

The memo proceeds to nitpick Dr. Ford’s testimony in myriad ways.  In one case, Mitchell claims Dr. Ford does not consistently remember the event because she alleged the assault took place in the “mid 1980s,” then the “early ’80s,” and finally July 1, 1982. Mitchell also believes Dr. Ford’s testimony is “weak” because she doesn’t remember how she attended the July party, how she was invited, how she came home from the party, or where the house was located.

“Dr. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as having attended—including her lifelong friend,” Mitchell writes in the memo, concluding that “Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of the alleged assault.”

It doesn’t take long to realize Mitchell’s memo has glaring issues. For one, there’s her sheer insensitivity to Dr. Ford as an alleged victim. Yale University associate professor Joan Cook notes that human memory is “much more fluid and dynamic than we once thought it to be” and that time, life experiences, or intervention can change how memories are stored and retrieved, even traumatic ones, Cook writes for The Hill. She also notes that memory is stored in pieces, not one continuous stream. This would explain why Dr. Ford does not know how she attended the party or where the alleged incident happened, even though she’s confident that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982.

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Significant portions of Mitchell’s memo draw immediate conclusions about Dr. Ford’s testimony without further evidence. For example, Mitchell claims that Dr. Ford’s witnesses “refuted” her allegations, but Dr. Ford’s claims have not been refuted by a single witness, even if they haven’t been fully corroborated. Most importantly of all, Mitchell’s conclusions seem to echo conservative talking points criticizing Ford’s testimony, suggesting that Mitchell is playing to the Republican base’s skepticism against Dr. Ford’s claims.

Twitter quickly responded by condemning the memo, with some fearing that Republicans leaked its contents in order to use Mitchell to discredit Dr. Ford in the public eye.

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Others believe that Mitchell’s memo makes zero sense from a prosecutor’s perspective. An FBI investigation is still underway, so why would she conclude that Dr. Ford’s case cannot be prosecuted?

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https://twitter.com/DMJreports/status/1046605045998002182

https://twitter.com/zdor17602/status/1046639540583239680

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No matter what Mitchell thinks, many agree that Kavanaugh’s behavior during the hearings was so volatile and disrespectful that his actions alone proved Dr. Ford’s testimony was true.

https://twitter.com/Khanoisseur/status/1046622579631501317

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The FBI began investigating sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh this weekend, with the bureau confined to a one-week deadline to investigate the claims, but it remains unclear if the FBI will thoroughly investigate accusations against Kavanaugh. Dr. Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, claims the FBI has not contacted her yet in order to cooperate with the investigation despite repeated attempts on her behalf, the New Yorker reports.

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*First Published: Oct 1, 2018, 8:26 am CDT