Update 2: Ford has agreed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday after the panel agreed to six out of 10 pre-conditions, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
"We made important progress on our call this morning with Senate Judiciary Committee staff members," said Ford's legal team in a Sunday afternoon announcement. "We committed to moving forward with an open hearing on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her.
Ford's team has reportedly agreed that she will go first.
Some details on hearing: Ford’s team prefers Kavanaugh testify first but agreed she will go first. There can be breaks at 45-minute intervals, and she will have dedicated security and two lawyers at the table with her. Length of senator/outside counsel questioning uncertain— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 23, 2018
Update: Ford's attorney, Debra Katz, said in a statement to NBC News:
As Dr. Ford has said, she did not share her story publicly or with anyone for years following the incident with Judge Kavanaugh. It’s not surprising that Ms Keyser has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it. It’s also unremarkable that Ms. Keyser does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there.”
That said, a former classmate of Ford's, Cristina King Miranda, tweetd: "The incident was spoken about for days afterwords in school," before deleting her post after saying "it served its purpose" and that she was being inundated with media requests from WaPo, CNN and CBS.
While Kavanaugh supporters may dismiss Miranda's account as a fabrication, team Ford would essentially have to do the same to also argue that Ford's "longtime friend," Leland Ingham Keyser never heard about it through the grapevine.
A woman believed to have been one of five people at a party some 35 years ago where Christine Blasey Ford claims she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh has become the fourth person to deny any recollection of the event.
In a Saturday night email to the Senate Judiciary Committee also received by several news outlets, Leland Ingham Keyser - a "longtime friend" of Blasey Ford's said through her attorney:
"Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford," said Keyser's attorney Howard Walsh, who has been "engaged in the limited capacity" of corresponding with the committee on behalf of Keyser, according to Politico.
Kavanaugh and Mark Judge - the other teenager allegedly in the room during the alleged sexual assault - have both stated that they have no recollection of the incident, while a third man who Ford claims was at the party - Patrick J. Smyth, also denied any recollection of the event, telling the Judiciary Committee last week in a statement: "I understand that I have been identified by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as the person she remembers as 'PJ' who supposedly was present at the party she described in her statements to the Washington Post," Smyth wrote in his statement. "I am issuing this statement today to make it clear to all involved that I have no knowledge of the party in question; nor do I have any knowledge of the allegations of improper conduct she has leveled against Brett Kavanaugh."
Smyth added: "Personally speaking, I have known Brett Kavanaugh since high school and I know him to be a person of great integrity, a great friend, and I have never witnessed any improper conduct by Brett Kavanaugh towards women. To safeguard my own privacy and anonymity, I respectfully request that the Committee accept this statement in response to any inquiry the Committee may have."
On Saturday night, a tentative deal was reached for Ford to testify publicly on Thursday, according to the New York Times.
After a brief call late on Saturday, the woman’s lawyers and aides to Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, planned to talk again Sunday morning to continue the halting negotiations over the conditions of the testimony, according to three people familiar with the call. Aides to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top Democrat, were also involved. -NY Times
The Times notes, however, that Leland Keyser's statement "seemed to eliminate any chance of corroboration of Dr. Blasey’s account by anyone who attended the high school party where she says she was assaulted."
If no deal is reached for Blasey Ford's testimony next week, Sen. Grassley will be left to decide on Sunday whether or not to move ahead with a scheduled vote to confirm Kavanaugh on Monday.
Grassley has engaged in a back-and-forth with Ford's legal team, allowing them to miss several deadlines to continue negotiations. While Grassley may be trying to avoid the appearance of the Judiciary Committee panel of 11 men bullying an female victim alleging sexual assault, many conservatives have expressed frustration at the Chairman's acquiescence to virtually every demand Ford has made.
Shut this down.— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) September 23, 2018
Everyone at the party has said they have no idea what Christine Blasey Ford is talking about, even her longtime friend Leland Ingham Keyser!
What are you waiting for Chuck!!! Vote on Monday!!! #ConfirmKavanaugh pic.twitter.com/ofwU7ULPht
The Senate should be negotiating with Ford for a written apology from her to Brett Kavanaugh and his wife and children.— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) September 23, 2018
Also potentially damaging to Blasey Ford's claim is a theory presented Thursday by Ed Whelan, a former clerk to USSC Justice Antonin Scalia and currently president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a conservative think tank. Using entirely circumstantial evidence which could certainly ruin the life of the man at the center of the new theory, Whelan suggested that Kavanaugh's high school doppelgänger, Chris Garrett, may have in fact been responsible for Blasey Ford's recollection of the alleged incident.
Whelan apologized for publicly naming Kavanaugh's look-alike hours later, perhaps to provide legal cover, however he did not retract his theory that Ford may be "misremembering" the incident.
Also casting doubt on the timing and purpose of Ford's 11th hour claim against Kavanaugh is the Friday revalation that Ford's current political adviser - former Obama and Clinton White House official Ricky Seidman, had allegedly been working on Ford's situation since July - outlining a plan on a newly released audio tape to use the allegation as political fodder to derail Kavanaugh's confirmation, and if unsuccessful, at least politically harm Republicans during midterms.
"While I think at the outset, looking at the numbers in the Senate, it’s not extremely likely that the nominee can be defeated," says Seidman. "I would absolutely withhold judgement as the process goes on. I think that I would not reach any conclusion about the outcome in advance."
What's more, the recording makes clear that even if Kavanaugh is confirmed, Democrats can use the doubt cast over him during midterms.
"Over the coming days and weeks, there will be a strategy that will emerge, and I think it’s possible that that strategy might ultimately defeat the nominee... whether or not it ultimately defeats the nominee, it will help people understand why it's so important that they vote and the deeper principles that are involved in it."
Meanwhile, over 200 women have defended Kavanaugh's moral character, including two ex-girlfriends who vouched for the Judge.
"He was always a perfect gentleman, and I vouch for him completely," Maura Fitzgerald said. "Brett Kavanaugh and I have been good friends since high school. I dated him in college and he was and is nothing like the person who has been described" by Christine Blasey Ford.
"He always conducted himself honorably with me at all times when we were together," Fitzgerald explained.
Another woman who dated Kavanaugh in high school, Maura Kane, agreed with Fitzgerald.
“I’ve been friends with Brett Kavanaugh for over 35 years, and dated him during high school," Kane explained. "In every situation where we were together he always respectful, kind and thoughtful. The accusations leveled against him in no way represent the decent young man I knew."
Kane concluded, "We remain good friends and I admire him as a husband, father and professional." -PJ Media
Meanwhile, Ford has been backed largely by people with no knowledge of the situation, such as celebrities and non-public figures who simply believe her story.