Now, the woman who has accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has been forced out of her home by threats and harassment, her lawyers say.
Yet comparing the account of Ford, who says the 17-year-old Kavanaugh jumped on top of her, tried to remove her clothes, and covered her mouth when she attempted to scream, to a more trivial encounter between kids could help pave the way for the judge's confirmation, said Colby Bruno, an advocate for sexual assault victims in MA.
Smyth remains Kavanaugh's friend and had already written to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of his nomination to the Supreme Court, calling him "singularly qualified to be an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court" in a letter co-authored by Georgetown Prep classmates of Kavanaugh.
But, he noted that the committee is not going to honor her request that the FBI investigate the incident, which reportedly happened over 36 years ago.
"So anything outside of the scope would (presumably?) need a request from the White House", she added. President Donald Trump: "It wouldn't bother me, other than the FBI, John said, that they really don't do that".
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"It's a process, and we all feel - speaking for all of the Republicans - we feel that we want to go through this process and we want to give everybody a chance to say what they have to say. That doesn't look good", Trump said.
"If she shows up, that would be wonderful", Trump said. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is on the committee, said she believes Ford is telling the truth, and emphasized that "the American public deserves to know the character of someone who will serve for his entire life on the highest court in our country".
The FBI was involved originally since it handles part of the background checks for presidential nominations of Supreme Court justices.
Bruno said focusing on the young ages of Kavanaugh and Ford during the alleged assault - Ford was 15 - and the many years that have elapsed misses a larger point.
Kavanaugh has said that he is willing to testify on this matter "if the Senate is willing to hear him", according to White House spokesman Raj Shah.
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In the wake of the #MeToo movement, some have pointed out that the committee still lacks protocol for vetting sexual assault and harassment claims that crop up during confirmation hearings.
Judge Kavanaugh, 53, has called the allegation "completely false". Ford also hired private security.
Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh.
The FBI said Tuesday that it does not investigate those types of cases.
The confirmation fight comes just weeks before November congressional elections in which Democrats seek to win control of Congress from Mr Trump's fellow Republicans.
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Mr Trump, who reportedly did not meet Mr Kavanaugh on Tuesday, expressed sympathy for his nominee. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat.