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Maricopa County prosecutor picked to lead Kavanaugh hearing

Posted at 7:41 PM, Sep 25, 2018

Senate Republicans have picked a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to lead Thursday's questioning about allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Rachel Mitchell has worked in the county attorney's office as the chief of the Special Victims Division, which covers sex crimes and family violence.

Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley's office described Mitchell in a news release as "a career prosecutor with decades of experience prosecuting sex crimes."

"The American people can be confident that Rachel Mitchell's experience as a conscientious prosecutor, trained to seek justice, protect victims, and pursue truth will assist the Senate Judiciary Committee in performing its important task," her boss, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, said in a release Tuesday night.

Mitchell was heavily involved in the county attorney's office developing a new protocol manual for how to handle sexual assault cases. She details the new procedures in an interview with KJZZ's The Show earlier this year.

In that interview, she said the new policies were somewhat modeled after ones already in place for child abuse cases and was meant to guide all levels of law enforcement in sexual assault cases: from first responders to detectives and forensic nurses.

Republicans have been trying to hire outside counsel for the hearing with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault when they were teens. They say they want to avoid an overtly political process. But the panel's all-male lineup on the GOP side also prefers to have a woman questioning Ford. 

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