Christine Blasey Ford is set to tell Congress that she believed Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, was going to rape her at a party more than 30 years ago. 

In testimony released in advance of a key Senate hearing on Thursday, the 51-year-old said she was appearing only because she felt it was her duty, was frankly "terrified" and has been the target of vile harassment and even death threats.

In addition to Ms Ford’s evidence, the Senate Judiciary Committee – 11 Republicans, all men, and 10 Democrats – will also hear from Judge Kavanaugh, who is facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct. The federal appeals court judge has strongly denied all the allegations. 

Much is riding on the testimony of both individuals, with the public Senate hearing expected to determine whether Republicans can salvage Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination and enshrine a high court conservative majority.

The President, who has strongly defended his Supreme Court pick, will be among those watching proceedings closely. 

"I want to watch, I want to see," Mr Trump said at a news conference in New York on Wednesday, adding that he was "open to changing my mind". 

The hearing will be the first time the world sees and hears from Ms Ford beyond the grainy photo that has appeared in the media in the 10 days since she came forward with her claims.

"It is not my responsibility to determine whether Mr Kavanaugh deserves to sit on the Supreme Court," Ms Ford, a California psychology professor, is to tell the senators. "My responsibility is to tell the truth."

Ms Ford will testify first at the hearing, which starts at 10am (3pm UK time) and at her request is being held in a small hearing room that seats only a few dozen spectators.

She plans to tell the committee that, one night in the summer of 1982, an inebriated Kavanaugh forced her down on a bed, "groped me and tried to take off my clothes," then clamped his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream before she was able to escape.

"I believed he was going to rape me," she will say, according to her prepared testimony. 

Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee?

"It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me," she said, adding that he was laughing during the alleged attack. 

Ms Ford also released sworn statements from people who said she had told them about the assault in later years.

Judge Kavanaugh is being challenged on multiple fronts by his accusers, former classmates and college friends. They say the good-guy image he projects in public bears little relation to the hard-partying behaviour they witnessed when he was young.

In his prepared testimony, the 53-year-old judge acknowledges drinking in high school with his friends, but says he’s never done anything "remotely resembling" what Ms Ford describes. He said he has never had a "sexual or physical encounter of any kind" with her.

He also provided the committee with detailed calendar pages listing in green-and-white squares the activities that filled his summer of 1982 when he was 17 years old – exams, movies, sports and plenty of parties. That’s the year when Ms Ford says she believes the assault occurred.

Nothing on the calendar appears to refer to her.

The US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room where Dr Christine Blasey Ford and US Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh will testifyCredit:
Reuters

"But I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today," he is expected to add. "I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many. In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now. But that’s not why we are here today. What I’ve been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehaviour. I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr Ford describes."

Republican Judiciary committee staffers are trying to interview another woman, Julie Swetnick, who became the third woman to accuse Judge Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, she said she attended more than 10 house parties in the Washington area from 1981 to 1983 where Judge Kavanaugh was present. She described gang rapes she said occurred in which boys would line up to rape incapacitated girls.

"In approximately 1982, I became the victim of one of these ‘gang’ or ‘train’ rapes where Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present," she said, mentioning the name of a close friend of Judge Kavanaugh. She did not identify her attackers and did not accuse Judge Kavanaugh or Mark Judge of taking part.

Yale University students attend a rally protesting the nomination of Brett KavanaughCredit:
AP

Judge Kavanaugh said in a statement: "This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened." Mark Judge has also denied the accusations. 

Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has accused Judge Kavanaugh of exposing himself during a drunken dormitory party during the 1983-84 academic year when both attended Yale University. Judge Kavanaugh has denied that allegation as well.

Republican staffers on the committee also asked Judge Kavanaugh about two other incidents involving alcohol and sexual behaviour, according to a transcript of an interview released on Wednesday. Judge Kavanaugh told staffers they did not take place, and nobody has come forward to speak publicly about them.

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