The Latest: Dramatic hearing over Ford allegations begins

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FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, for the third day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Republicans are bringing in Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to handle questioning about […]

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh (all times local):
  
10:05 a.m.
  
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has gaveled into session Thursday’s dramatic hearing with Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
  
Ford, in prepared remarks submitted to the committee, alleges that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes when they were teens. Kavanaugh, in his prepared testimony, says he’s never done anything “remotely resembling” what Ford describes.
  
Grassley and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will deliver opening statements at the start of the hearing. Then Ford will be sworn in as a witness and deliver her opening statement. Kavanaugh will testify later, after her session is over.
  
The 11 Republican and 10 Democratic members of the panel will have five minutes each to question Ford and Kavanaugh in alternating turns.
  
Republicans have hired an outside attorney, Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, to handle much of their questioning.
  
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9:25 a.m.
  
With a dramatic day of testimony looming, protesters are gathering around the U.S. Capitol building.
  
Organizers behind the Women’s March plan a “direct action” Thursday morning in the Hart Senate Office Building in support of Christine Blasey Ford, who will testify that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her during a drunken high school party.
  
Elsewhere, a coalition of conservative women’s groups is planning an “I stand with Brett” rally near the Russell Senate Office Building.
  
Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing earlier this month was marred by dozens of protesters interrupting the hearing even before Ford’s allegation became public.
  
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12:35 a.m.
  
The Senate Judiciary Committee is raising the curtain on what promises to be high drama – a hearing in which senators will listen to a woman accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, then weigh his denial.
  
At stake is President Donald Trump’s second nomination to the high court.
  
Kavanaugh’s confirmation seemed assured until a California college professor, Christine Blasey Ford, accused the appeals court judge of attempting to rape her when they were high school teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied any sexual misconduct then or in college at Yale, though more women alleging sexual misconduct have come forward.
  
Kavanaugh defended himself this week in a TV interview. The hearing set to begin Thursday morning will be the first time the country sees and hears from Ford.
  
 

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