The real heroine in the Brett Kavanaugh case
THE real heroine in the Brett Kavanaugh crucifixion is the egregiously underestimated prosecutor contracted by Republican Senators to question Christine Blasey Ford on recollections of her alleged teenage sexual assault at the hands of the US Supreme Court nominee.
Rachel Mitchell was brought in to save the Republicans the awkward optics of 11 male Senators cross-examining a woman who claims to be a sexual assault victim.
She has been criticised ever since, with even some conservatives denigrating her for "not laying a glove" on Ford.
But that was the entire point.
Mitchell's deceptively gentle questioning of Ford was a forensic masterpiece.
It may not fit the narcissistic Zeitgeist, but her priority was not to showcase her own wares. Humility and Columbo-esque understatement are her tools of trade.
She filleted Ford's account and extracted pearls of apparent inconsistency without drawing a drop of blood. The most impressive interrogators often are the least impressive.
Mitchell knows more about the credibility of sexual assault cases than anyone in that hearing room, after 25 years prosecuting sex crimes and interviewing victims of abuse.
She is head of an Arizona Special Victims Division, covering sex crimes and family violence. Her boss describes her as "a conscientious prosecutor, trained to seek justice, protect victims, and pursue truth".
What more could you ask for in a world dying for lack of truth.
And now Mitchell has completed her assignment for Senate Republicans with a devastatingly analytical memo detailing nine points she says raise questions about the credibility of Ford's account.
This is that, at a party on an unknown day at an unknown location in the summer of 1982, when Ford was 15, Kavanaugh, then 17, jumped on top of her, tried to remove her clothes and covered her mouth to stop her screaming.
In her memo, Mitchell outlines nine weaknesses in Ford's allegations.
1. "has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened"
2. "has struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name"
3. "When speaking with her husband, Dr. Ford changed her description of the incident to become less specific"
4. "has no memory of key details of the night in question - details that could help corroborate her account … Perhaps most importantly, she does not remember how she got from the party back to her house"
5. "Dr. Ford's account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as having attended - including her lifelong friend"
6. "has not offered a consistent account of the alleged assault"
7. "has struggled to recall important recent events relating to her allegations, and her testimony regarding recent events raises further questions about her memory."
8. "Dr. Ford's description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions … She maintains that she suffers from anxiety, claustrophobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The date of the hearing was delayed because the Committee was informed that her symptoms prevent her from flying. But she [testified] that she flies 'fairly frequently for [her] hobbies and … work'"
9. "The activities of congressional Democrats and [her] attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford's account".
Mitchell concludes: "A 'he said, she said' case is incredibly difficult to prove.
"Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them …
"I do not think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee."
In other words, there's no evidence to prevent Kavanaugh being confirmed to the Supreme Court, and definitely nothing to destroy a man's life, to condemn him as a paedophile who should never coach his daughter's basketball team, as USA Today despicably did: "Credibly accused sex offenders should not coach youth basketball, girls or boys, without deeper investigation".
Bringing sanity to this hearing was a thankless task for Mitchell, who already has been slammed as a partisan traitor to her sex.
But she has redeemed womankind with her cool-headed, professional assessment. She is a rare pure light of reason. Bravo Rachel Mitchell!