Complaint Filed Against Christine Ford’s Lawyers for Bar Association Violations
If you thought there was foul play afoot in the mass media spectacle that was Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kavanaughgeddon last month, you’re not alone.
Watchdog group Judicial Watch has filed a complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals against the legal team that represented Dr. Ford as she brought her allegations against now-Justice Kavanaugh forward.
You see, something that many may have missed in all the noise of Kavanaugh’s confirmation and swearing-in is that Ford’s lawyers were exposed for never telling their client that the committee had offered to fly to California and meet with her in private rather than have her testify publically in Washington DC.
That’s a pretty massive oversight and one that seems to blatantly expose a very distinct political agenda.
These are the rules, The Daily Wire reports, that Ford’s lawyers may have violated from the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct:
Rule l.4(a) – A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
Rule 1.4(b) – A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
On October 2nd the Judiciary Committee sent Ford’s lawyers a letter informing them of this potential violation.
In the letter filed by Judicial Watch, quoted in part below, they explain exactly how Ford’s lawyers may have violated these rules.
Dr. Ford made well-publicized allegations of sexual misconduct involving Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, whose nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court was before the Committee. Her identity was first revealed in connection with these allegations on September 16, 2018. The next day, September 17, 2018, Ms. Katz went on several television shows asking that the Committee hold a public hearing so that Dr. Ford could offer her testimony.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, honored that request. In a letter sent on September 19, 2018, he informed Ms. Katz and Ms. Banks that the Committee was scheduling a hearing on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for September 24, 2018, in order to “give Dr. Ford an opportunity to tell her story to the Senate and, if she chooses, to the American people.” Letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman, S. Judiciary Comm., to Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks (Sep. I 9, 2018) (available at https://goo.gl/ce3SVv). He informed Ms. Katz and Ms. Banks that the hearing could be public or private, and that Dr. Ford could also choose to have a public or private staff interview with Committee staff, either by phone or in-person. Id. “To that end,” Chairman Grassley continued, “Committee staff has attempted to contact you directly by phone and e-mail several times to schedule a call at a time convenient for you and your client. We thus far have not heard back from you with regard to that request.” Id. He reiterated that “my staff would still welcome the opportunity to speak with Dr. Ford at a time and place convenient to her.” Id.
On September 21, 2018, Chairman Grassley wrote another letter to Ms. Katz, where he stated that “[t]he Chairman has offered the ability for Dr. Ford to testify in an open session, a closed session, a public staff interview, and a private staff interview. Press Release, Senate Judiciary Committee, Ford ‘Wasn’t Clear’ Committee Offered California Interview in lieu of Public Washington Hearing (Oct. 2, 2018) (available at https://goo.gl/6dmNJd). The Chairman is even willing to fly female staff investigators to meet Dr. Ford and you in California, or anywhere else, to obtain Dr. Ford’s testimony.” Id. (emphasis added).
When the hearing finally took place on September 27, 2018, however, the following exchange took place between Dr. Ford, under oath, and counsel for the Committee, Rachel Mitchell:
“MITCHELL: May I ask, Dr. Ford, how did you get to Washington?
FORD: In an airplane.
MITCHELL: OK. It’s – I ask that, because it’s been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is – is that true?
FORD: Well, I was willing – I was hoping that they would come to me, but then I realized that was an unrealistic request.
MITCHELL: It would’ve been a quicker trip for me.
FORD: Yes. So that was certainly what I was hoping, was to avoid having to get on an airplane, but I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends, and get on the plane.”
Nomination of the Honorable Brett M Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (Day 5): Hearings before the Comm. on the Judiciary., 115th Cong. (2018) (emphasis added).
Mitchell’s questioning at the hearing continued:
“MITCHELL: Was it communicated to you by your counsel or someone else, that the committee had asked to interview you and that – that they offered to come out to California to do so?
BROMWICH: We’re going to object, Mr. Chairman, to any call for privileged conversations between counsel and Dr. Ford. It’s a privileged conversation …
GRASSLEY: Would – could – could we – could you validate the fact that the offer was made without her saying a word?
GRASSLEY: Is it possible for that question to be answered without violating any counsel relationships?
FORD: Can I say something to you – do you mind if I say something to you directly?
FORD: I just appreciate that you did offer that. I wasn’t clear on what the offer was. If you were going to come out to see me, I would have happily hosted you and had you – had been happy to speak with you out there. I just did not – it wasn’t clear to me that that was the case.“
Id. (emphasis added).
Thus, it is clear, by Dr. Ford’s own testimony, that her attorneys did not communicate the Committee’s multiple offers to take her testimony in California, despite the fact that this was Dr. Ford’s preferred option. In fact, Dr. Ford testified that she “wasn’t clear on what the offer was” and regarded the possibility of investigators taking her testimony in California as “unrealistic”-when in fact it had been specifically offered. Id.