A woman who accuses US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has accepted a Senate Judiciary Committee’s request for her to tell her story.
But lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said in a letter to the committee’s Republican majority that they want to continue discussing the terms of her appearance.
The letter says Ms Ford “accepts” the committee’s request that in the coming week she will “provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct”.
The lawyers said they are “hopeful” of reaching a deal on the details of her appearance soon. It is understood the day she will give evidence, and whether she will do so in public, remain up for discussion.
The committee has pencilled in a possible vote to decide whether to recommend Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate for Monday.
A senior official at the White House said the letter amounts to “an ask to continue ‘negotiations’ without committing to anything”.
He added: “It’s a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday.”.
Ms Ford, a 51-year-old California psychology professor, claims an inebriated Mr Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when they were both teenagers in the 1980s.
Mr Kavanaugh, a District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has repeatedly denied the accusation.
President Donald Trump, who nominated Mr Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, has waded into the issue, claiming that if the alleged attack was that “bad”, she would have filed charges at the time.
He tweeted on Friday: “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
On Saturday, vice-president Mike Pence described Mr Kavanaugh as “a man of integrity with impeccable credentials”.
He said the judge’s record and career deserve “the respect of every member of the United States Senate”.
He made no reference to Ms Ford, but he said he is confident Mr Kavanaugh will soon join the high court.