Republican senators indirectly parroted a far-right conspiracy claiming liberal megadonor George Soros paid for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s polygraph test Thursday, even after Ford’s lawyers said during the hearing they themselves had paid for the test.
Ford was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ford claims Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a house party in 1982, when the two were teenagers. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
Pressed by prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who was questioning Ford for GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee, about who paid for a polygraph test Ford took, one of her lawyers, Deborah Katz, took the mic.
“Let me put an end to this mystery,” Katz said. “Her lawyers paid for this polygraph.”
Her other attorney, Michael Bromwich, took the mic and added, “As is routine.” Katz took the mic back and repeated, “As is routine.”
Katz and Bromwich are also working pro bono, they said during the hearing.
“We are not being paid,” Bromwich said. “And we have no expectations of being paid.”
The line of questioning stems from a thoroughly debunked far-right conspiracy that Ford has ties to Soros, a favorite target of the far right. Earlier this week, a photo of a woman standing with Soros was shared on Twitter, with one user saying it was Ford.
But, as The New York Times noted, the woman is actually Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a Ukranian human rights activist.
The photo had been shared more than 30,000 times as of Tuesday, according to the outlet.
Despite Ford’s lawyers saying they paid for her polygraph and are working pro bono, at least one member of the committee was still uncertain of her credibility.
“I don’t know who paid for her polygraph,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told reporters, ignoring her lawyer’s previous answers.
Ford says Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing. When she tried to scream, he then covered her mouth with his hand and turned up the music in the room to muffle her cries.
“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this month, a sentiment she reiterated in an emotional testimony Thursday.
Two other women have come also forward alleging sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh in recent days. One of the women, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker that, at a party in college, Kavanaugh thrust his penis to her face against her wishes.
“Brett was laughing,” she told the magazine. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.”
A third woman came forward Wednesday, saying she was gang or “train” raped at a party where Kavanaugh was present. Though she did not directly implicate Kavanaugh in the rape, she wrote in a sworn affidavit that Kavanaugh was among a group of boys with whom she associated who she claimed frequently spiked women’s drinks or drugged them in order to rape them.
Kavanaugh has denied those claims.