By ALAN FRAM and LISA MASCARO
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Christine Blasey Ford wants the FBI to investigate her allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before she testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next week, her lawyers said in a letter sent Tuesday to the panel.
The lawyers wrote that Ford, who is now a college professor in California, wants to cooperate with the panel. But in the days since she publicly accused Kavanaugh of the assault when they were teens at a party 35 years ago, she has been the target of "vicious harassment and even death threats." Her family has relocated, they said.
An FBI investigation "should be the first step in addressing the allegations," the lawyers wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
The development comes as President Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled Supreme Court nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought determinedly over who should testify at a high-stakes hearing on the allegation just six weeks before major congressional elections.
Democrats have said they wanted more time for the FBI to investigate -- and more witnesses besides Kavanaugh and Ford, hoping to avoid what would turn into merely a "he-said-she-said" moment. Those witnesses would include Kavanaugh's high school friend Mark Judge, who Ford said was in the room when she was assaulted, but Judge said no. Kavanaugh has denied Ford's allegation, and Judge says he doesn't remember any such incident.
The lawyers for Ford predicted the hearing, as now scheduled, "would include interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds" that she is "mistaken" and mixed up.
The furious jockeying over her testimony underscores the political potency so close to an election that will decide control of both the House and Senate, not to mention the confirmation of a conservative justice likely to serve on the high court for decades.
Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Mary Clare Jalonick, Juliet Linderman and Catherine Lucey contributed from Washington.