“Female assistant” Rachel Mitchell dutifully produced a memo for Senate Republicans attempting to discredit Christine Blasey Ford, and it’s drawing brutal reviews from other lawyers, who say it may even undermine Mitchell’s work prosecuting rapists. “We certainly are going to use this as a means of challenge,” said one Maricopa County defense attorney of Mitchell’s insistence that Ford’s incomplete memory and long silence cast her account into question, while the chief strategy officer for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence said “I’m afraid that survivors in Maricopa County are going to see this and relate to Dr. Ford, and be concerned about whether or not they would be believed.”
Mitchell was not entirely honest in the process of undermining her own work as a sex crimes prosecutor:
Linda Fairstein, a former sex-crimes prosecutor in Manhattan who is a Democrat, said that Mitchell seemed to misrepresent matters in referring twice to her “independent assessment” and once to her “independent review.”
“There is nothing independent about her opinion,” Fairstein said. “She is a hired gun giving an opinion for the side that hired her.”
And Mitchell’s memo was inconsistent with her own standards as a prosecutor, said Matthew Long, who was trained as a sex crimes prosecutor by Mitchell herself and now works as a defense attorney. “I find her willingness to author this absolutely disingenuous. She knows better.” In particular, he flagged Mitchell’s history of prosecuting crimes that happened long ago and in which the victims have gaps in their memories. “I challenge Ms. Mitchell directly on this issue, because her office often charges cases with a very expanded timeline,” he said. In fact, “I was trained explicitly by her to not consider this time thing as an inconsistency.”
Senate Republicans claim Mitchell wasn’t obligated by the terms of her (secret) contract to produce such a memo. That she willingly undermined her own work as a prosecutor and told sexual assault survivors in her home county that they wouldn’t be believed by writing it anyway says the Republicans certainly made the right choice, hiring someone willing to go that extra despicable mile. But that doesn’t make it a believable or responsible legal analysis. “She is a hired gun giving an opinion for the side that hired her”—and willfully ignoring the many obvious perjuries of the Supreme Court nominee she was there to protect.
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