Kavanaugh denies sex assault after accuser testifies

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 27, 2018. (REUTERS/Jim Bourg)

A defiant Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court, angrily denied sexual assault allegations and condemned his bitter Senate confirmation process as a "national disgrace."

Kavanaugh's passionate defence on Thursday came after a university professor, Christine Blasey Ford, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he sexually assaulted her 36 years ago.

The allegations against the 53-year-old conservative judge have thrust the Trump administration into the #MeToo movement's harsh glare, and threaten to derail its bid to tilt the nation's highest court to the right for years to come.

"I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation by Dr. Ford," said Kavanaugh, whose voice shook with anger during an opening statement that saw him repeatedly shed tears.

"I've never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever." "I am innocent of this charge," Kavanaugh thundered.

Earlier, during four hours of emotionally-charged testimony, Blasey Ford, 51, said she was "100 per cent" certain Kavanaugh was her assailant and it was "absolutely not" a case of mistaken identity.

"I am here today not because I want to be," Blasey Ford said as she recounted the sexual assault which she alleged occurred at a high school party at a suburban Maryland home in 1982.

"I am terrified," she said, her voice often quavering. "I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me."

Kavanaugh slammed what he called a "grotesque and coordinated character assassination" and a "calculated and orchestrated political hit." "My family and my name have been permanently destroyed by vicious and false accusations," Kavanaugh said.

"This confirmation process has become a national disgrace." But he said he would not withdraw his candidacy for a spot on the nine-member Supreme Court.

"I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process," Kavanaugh said. "You may defeat me in the final vote but you'll never get me to quit. Never."

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