Brett Kavanaugh denied allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when both were high school students and angrily told Congress that Democrats were engaged in “a calculated and orchestrated political hit”.
In her own testimony, Ms Ford told the same Senate Judiciary Committee that she was “100%” certain a drunken young Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed, tried to remove her clothes and clapped a hand over her mouth as she tried to yell for help.
She described “uproarious laughter” by Mr Kavanaugh and his friend, whom she said was also involved in the alleged incident in a locked bedroom at a gathering of high school friends.
The Judiciary panel’s day-long hearing, an extraordinary Senate airing of long-ago and painfully personal memories, came as GOP support for Mr Kavanaugh’s ascension to Supreme Court lay in the balance.
Mr Kavanaugh vowed to continue his bid to join the high court, to which US president Donald Trump nominated him in July.
Now a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr Kavanaugh seemed assured of confirmation until Ms Ford and several other accusers emerged in recent weeks. He has denied all the accusations.
“You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit, never,” he said in an irate voice.
Both Mr Kavanaugh and Ms Ford testified under sworn oath, leaving senators who will decide his fate and millions of Americans watching on television to parse whose version to believe.
In her three hours of testimony, Ms Ford’s tone was polite but firm as she detailed her accusations but offered no major new revelations.
Rachel Mitchell, a veteran sex crimes prosecutor from Arizona who asked all questions of Ford for the committee’s all-male GOP senators, seemed to elicit no significant inconsistencies.
During her testimony, Ms Ford, now 51, said of Mr Kavanaugh: “I believed he was going to rape me.”