The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday to receive sworn testimony from liberal California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has leveled a 36-year-old accusation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, as well as Kavanaugh’s testimony in rebuttal to the allegation.
But amid the hours of testimony, a few quick seconds are getting loads of attention.
Ford, now a professor at Palo Alto University, has alleged that, when both she and Kavanaugh were high school students, he groped and attempted to disrobe her while at a party believed to have taken place in the summer of 1982. Kavanaugh has flatly denied such an incident ever occurred, as have other alleged witnesses named by Ford.
Kavanaugh’s accuser delivered her emotional testimony flanked by two high-profile attorneys, Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich. She also had several supportive guests seated in the rows behind her, one of whom was Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.
During a break in the testimony, several individuals got up and approached Ford and her attorneys to speak and shake hands, including Lee. A short video clip that is going viral on social media captured the moment that Lee surreptitiously handed a thick envelope to Bromwich.
Sheila Jackson Lee what was that? pic.twitter.com/yWPyrelIs8
— wade (@wade222) September 27, 2018
Lee shook hands with Bromwich and then lowered her eyes as she produced and passed a thick envelope to Bromwich at about waist level. She then appeared to glance around the room after the envelope had been handed off.
For his part, Bromwich rapidly pocketed the envelope inside his jacket with a quick nod and smile to Lee.
It must be noted that, obviously, nobody other than Lee or Bromwich knows exactly what was in that fat envelope, or why the handoff was done in what appeared to be a sly manner.
Lee appeared to have a second envelope in her hand as well, and right before the clip ended seemed as though she were about to approach Ford’s other attorney, Katz, perhaps to hand her an envelope as well.
Speculation immediately began to flow among commenters on the post that the envelope contained some sort of payoff for Ford or her attorneys, either by Democrats or by a Democrat-aligned interest group.
Sure looks like it is a payoff.
— CgOrganic (@CgOrganic) September 27, 2018
Fueling that speculation was the statement issued a short time later in the hearing by Bromwich, who informed Rachel Mitchell, the attorney hired by the Judiciary Committee to question Ford, that both he and Katz were working “pro bono” on behalf of Ford and were not being paid for their service, nor did they have any “expectation of being paid,” according to The Associated Press.
That statement from Bromwich arose in response to Mitchell’s query of Ford as to who was paying the undoubtedly large legal fees charged by the high-profile attorneys at her sides.
Ford replied that she was aware of the several GoFundMe accounts that had been set up to raise money on her behalf, and also noted that family friends in Palo Alto were also helping to cover the security costs she had incurred over the past several weeks since the allegation was made public.
Ford also noted that she had hired Katz to represent her on the recommendation of Democrat California Sen. Feinstein, who is also the ranking member of the committee and is suspected of having leaked Ford’s previously confidential allegation to the media.
Again, it is entirely unclear what was contained inside the envelope handed to Bromwich by Lee, and unless either of them come forward to reveal what it was, we may never know for sure.
But one thing we do know is that it looks awfully suspicious, and unless Bromwich and Lee want the speculation to continue to run rampant, they ought to reveal what that quick little handoff was all about.
Update: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s office has released a statement on the exchange between Lee and Michael Bromwich: “Simply, what was passed were unopened stationery notes to counsel for Dr. Ford from women who wanted to enter the hearing room but were not allowed to enter the hearing room.”
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