Meet Rachel Mitchell, the outside attorney and practiced prosecutor who will be asking questions of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Dr. Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault back when the two were in high school. Mitchell has dedicated her career to prosecuting sex crimes and will be the stand-in for most Republican committee members in order to improve the optics and get the answers necessary to make a decision about Kavanaugh’s candidacy.
NPR did its best to answer the question, who is Rachel Mitchell? Mitchell is a prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona (where recently pardoned Joe Arpaio served as sheriff), who is the head of the sex crimes unit at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. But in this scenario, which is not a courtroom and not a trial, Mitchell has been hired to do a job for select members of the judicial committee.
“Mitchell has been hired by the Senate Republicans who have staunchly defended Kavanaugh against allegations of wrongdoing.”
Mitchell’s reputation in Arizona is impeccable, according to her local paper the Arizona Republic.
“She is experienced at training detectives, prosecutors… and others who work with victims [on] the best methods for forensic interviews of sex-crimes victims.”
— Slate (@Slate) September 27, 2018
Slate did a deep dive into Mitchell’s background to learn that the Arizona prosecutor is thought of as reasonable and fair, and generally leans toward speaking out on the rights of victims. Robert Kavanagh (no relation), an Arizona attorney who has represented a handful of defendants in cases and faced Mitchell in court, says that Mitchell is tough but fair.
“She’s reasonable. She’s not the kind of person who’s going to attack someone. I can’t think of anything unethical or inappropriate that was done.”
In the past, Mitchell has gone on the record to say that it is a rare occurrence when someone would make a false accusation in the case of a sexual assault.
“False accusations are very rare. … The reality is that the authorities, if they are brought in to investigate, can weed out false accusations and the criminal justice system can do that.”
Mitchell has not just prosecuted male on female sex crimes, but in 2011, she prosecuted a Jehovah’s Witness elder for sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Committee head Chuck Grassley has said that they chose Mitchell to maintain fairness when it came to questioning a victim of sexual assault. He said he wanted “to establish the most fair and respectful treatment of the witnesses possible.”