The fact that all 11 Republican members on the Senate Judiciary Committee are men, it was somewhat inevitable they would bring in outside female assistance to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford about her allegation of sexual assault.
According to multiple reports tonight, Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell has emerged as Senate Republicans’ choice. The Washington Post reports that Mitchell, the sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s office in Phoenix, is the likely candidate, according to two people familiar with the decision.
A registered Republican, picture above – back row left, Mitchell has worked for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for 26 years.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has just confirmed that it will be Mitchell, noting that she “has experience prosecuting sex crimes.”
Grassley said he appointed a woman from the outside in order to “depoliticize” the process and prevent a rerun of Anita Hill’s testimony at Justice Clarence Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearing. “The whole point is to create an environment where it’s what Doctor Ford has asked for, to be professional and to not be a circus,” said Grassley.
Grassley Hires Experienced Prosecutor to Question Witnesses During Thursday’s Session of Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing
WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he has asked Rachel Mitchell: a career prosecutor with decades of experience prosecuting sex crimes, to question the witnesses scheduled to testify on Thursday at the committee’s continuation of its hearing to consider the nomination of Aidge. Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Mitchell’s serving as nomination investigative counsel for the majority members on the committee for consideration of this nomination.
“As l have said, I’m committed to providing a forum to both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh on Thursday that is safe, comfortable and dignified. The majority members have followed the bipartisan recommendation to hire as staff counsel for the committee an experienced career sex-crimes prosecutor to question the witnesses at Thursday’s hearing_ The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns. I’m very appreciative that Rachel Mitchell has stepped forward to serve in this important and serious role. Ms. Mitchell has been recognized in the legal community for her experience and objectivity,” Grassley said.
“I’ve worked to give Dr. Ford an opportunity to share serious allegations with committee members in any format she’d like after learning of the allegations. I promised Dr. Ford that I would do everything in my power to avoid a repeat of the ‘circus’ atmosphere in the hearing room that we saw the week of September 4. I’ve taken this additional step to have questions asked by expert staff counsel to establish the most fair and respectful treatment of the witnesses possible.”
Mitchell came to the committee staff from Arizona, where she is on leave as Deputy County Attorney in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix and the Division Chief of the Special Victims Division, which consists of sex-crimes and family-violence bureaus. She had served as a prosecutor since 1993. She previously spent 12 years running the bureau in the Division responsible for the prosecution of sex-related felonies, including child molestation, adult sexual assault, cold cases, child prostitution and computer-related sexual offenses. She also supervised a satellite bureau responsible for the prosecution of felonies including child molestation, adult sexual assault, child physical abuse and neglect, elder abuse, stalking, and domestic violence. She is a widely recognized expert on the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes, and has frequently served as a speaker and instructor on the subject. In particular, Mitchell has for many years instructed detectives, prosecutors, child-protection workers and social workers on the best practices for forensic interviews detectives, prosecutors, child-protection workers and social workers on the best practices for forensic interviews of victims of sex crimes.
In 2013, Mitchell received the David R. White Excellence in Victim Advocacy Award from the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council. In 2006, she was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and she received the Outstanding Child Abuse Legal Professional Award for Excellence from the Arizona Children’s Justice Task Force. And in 2003, she was recognized by Governor Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard as the Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year.
WaPo offers this color as background on Mitchell: In a 2011 interview, Mitchell said she was drawn to sex crimes work after she was paired with a senior lawyer prosecuting a youth choir director after joining the office as a law clerk awaiting the results of her bar exam.
“It was different than anything that I would have ever imagined it being,” she said. “It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were.”
And here’s what Rachel Mitchell said in a 2012 interview.
“False accusations are very rare… do not keep these things internal and circle the wagons… the authorities and the criminal justice system can weed out false accusations”
No matter what, it will be a circus.