The headlines only pointed to the bottom line: Rachel Mitchell wouldn't have prosecuted Brett Kavanaugh based on the available evidence after her questioning of both Christine Blasey Ford and the Supreme Court nominee during last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

But there is a lot more to it than that. The sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Ariz., also said in a memo released this weekend that she did not find Ford's story credible. One reason was the lack of corroboration from the witnesses the alleged victim cited. Another was Ford’s own failure to recollect important details about the sexual assault she alleges occurred nearly 40 years ago.

But more importantly, Mitchell found Ford to be evasive in her answers about more recent events – specifically, events that occurred this summer when she began discussing her story with Democratic lawmakers and with the Washington Post.

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Ford appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday to testify to her claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. Ford maintains that Kavanaugh and a friend of his named Mark Judge pushed her into a room and that Kavanaugh then pinned her down, groped her, and tried to rape her while being egged on by Judge.

However, as Mitchell notes, Ford had previously said there were four men in the room, not two. She has at various times when discussing the allegation expressed uncertainty about the year when this occurred, and about her own age when it happened.

“Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of when the alleged assault happened,” reads Mitchell's memo, noting that Ford has claimed the alleged assault took place in the “mid 1980s” as well as the “early 80s.”

She adds that Ford suddenly and inexplicably was able to narrow that timeline in the days leading up to last week's hearing.

Mitchell was careful to note that the delay in Ford disclosing the alleged attack "is not dispositive,” as such delays are common for genuine abuse victims. However, she also pointed out that “Dr. Ford has struggled to identify Judge Kavanaugh as the assailant by name.” Kavanaugh's name appears nowhere in the notes from the therapy session where Ford initially divulged details of the attack in 2012, and then again in 2013.

The key moment to remember in looking over all of Mitchell's doubts is the second to last line in the memo, which reads, "The activities of congressional Democrats and Dr. Ford's attorneys likely affected Dr. Ford's account."

The memorandum includes a timeline suggesting that Democratic lawmakers and Ford’s attorneys, who were provided to the alleged victim on the recommendation of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have handled the assault allegations as a political matter rather than a criminal one.

This is the same point Mitchell made subtly during the hearing last week when she suggested Ford’s advocates failed terribly in not recommending the victim submit to a forensic interview. Rather, the attorneys recommended by Feinstein urged Ford to hook herself her up to a polygraph almost immediately, which is bizarre considering lie detector tests are basically junk science.

Kavanaugh, who also appeared last week before Congress, adamantly denies all the charges.

“A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove," Mitchell's Sept. 30 memo states. "But this case is even weaker than that. Dr. Ford identified other witnesses to the event, and those witnesses either refuted her allegations or failed to corroborate them.”

Mitchell's opinion is being written off by Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the press because she was hired by the committee's Republicans to question Ford. But Mitchell was quite specific in describing why she did not "think that a reasonable prosecutor would bring this case based on the evidence before the Committee." She wrote in the memo that also does not "believe that this evidence is sufficient to satisfy the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard," meaning that even in a civil lawsuit, the lack of corroborating evidence would be fatal to Ford's allegation.

Other issues identified by the sex crime prosecutor include:

  • "When speaking with her husband, Dr. Ford changed her description of the incident to become less specific," which has varied between "physical abuse " and "sexual assault."
  • "Dr. Ford has no memory of key details of the night in question—details that could help corroborate her account," such as how she got home. This is no small matter in 1980s suburban Montgomery County, given that the sites she associates with the alleged crime are several miles from her home, at least a 20-minute drive.
  • "Dr. Ford’s account of the alleged assault has not been corroborated by anyone she identified as having attended—including her lifelong friend."
  • "Dr. Ford has not offered a consistent account of the alleged assault."
  • "Her account of who was at the party has been inconsistent."
  • "Dr. Ford has struggled to recall important recent events relating to her allegations, and her testimony regarding recent events raises further questions about her memory."
  • "Dr. Ford’s description of the psychological impact of the event raises questions," Mitchell added, noting that her language was especially guarded, even cagey, regarding its effects on her school performance later. She specifically said that the event "contributed" to later poor performance in college, neither blaming it entirely for nor mentioning any performance issues in high school.

Mitchell’s memo is consistent with when she reportedly told GOP senators last week after the hearing that “based on the evidence she heard at the hearing, she would not have prosecuted or even been able to obtain a search warrant.”

In short, Ford’s testimony, though very emotional and perhaps indicative that she was assaulted at some time, came across as weak as a specific allegation of wrongdoing against Kavanaugh, failing to meet even the lowest standards of evidence, according to the Arizona prosecutor.