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Women's groups ask Sen. Flake to reject Kavanaugh nomination; 4 arrested

Posted at 4:12 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 01:13:44-04

Several dozen members of women's advocacy groups gathered outside Sen. Jeff Flake's Arizona office Thursday to urge him to reject Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court amid the sexual allegations against him.

Police said four protesters were later arrested for trespassing after entering the privately owned building complex where the office is located, sitting down and refusing to leave.

"Women's rights are under attack! We won't go back! We won't go back!" Camaron Stevenson shouted through a bullhorn, holding his 4-year-old daughter as he led a group chant.

"I'm here for her," Stevenson said of his daughter. "I want to be sure our girls are not assaulted."

Other protesters carried signs with slogans like, "Liar!" and "Kava-NO!"

"It's ridiculous that we still have to fight like this," said Sandy Greenhaut, an 82-year-old from Scottsdale and longtime Democratic activist.

"I'm still fighting for Roe vs. Wade," she added, referring to the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions.

Flake was among three Republican senators who had pressed President Donald Trump to order a renewed background check on Kavanaugh. He told CNN on Thursday that "we've seen no additional corroborating information" for the accusations and said the investigation had been comprehensive.

Also on Thursday, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl came out in support of Judge Kavanaugh. 

"I conclude that he is imminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and will serve the nation well."

Kyl was appointed as "sherpa" by the White House to help guide Kavanaugh through the nomination process, beginning in July. 

After roughly five weeks on the job, Kyl resigned once Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed him to take over Senator John McCain's seat. 

"He is an extraordinarily knowledgeable and very wise judge who will do what he is supposed to do on the Supreme Court to apply the law fairly and correctly," Kyl said. 

Members of the national organization UltraViolet Action and local groups called the midday rally in Phoenix to support the three women who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Group members said a small group of protesters earlier went inside the building to talk to staff members in the office where Flake works when he is in Arizona. Phoenix police officers blocked access to the building by additional protesters and members of the news media.

But a group of four women who got inside the complex earlier were arrested after the property owners and officers asked them to leave an area where they were seated, which didn't include Flake's office, police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

Thompson said the four were arrested without incident, and they were booked into Maricopa County Jail for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. The names were not immediately released.

"We stand with the facts!" Jennifer Harrison, one of a handful of counter-protesters from the conservative Patriot Movement AZ, yelled at the women's advocates.

"No evidence! No corroboration! No witnesses!" Harrison shouted.

A group of Arizona women who described themselves as survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence on Wednesday sent an open letter asking Flake to reject Kavanaugh's nomination.

They said his refusal will send a "devastating message to millions of survivors that what happened to us doesn't matter."