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Meet Rachel Mitchell, the woman who will question Ford about her Kavanaugh allegations at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing

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  • Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they have hired longtime Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford during her testimony Thursday.
  • Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were teenagers in the 1980s.
  • Mitchell is a respected, experienced prosecutor who specializes in sex crimes, and has said that the innocence and vulnerability of victims is what first drew her to the practice.

The woman who will question Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday during her testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has built her career out of investigating sex crimes and interviewing traumatized victims of abuse.

Senate Republicans announced Tuesday they had hired Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party when the two were teenagers.

Mitchell’s retention was the latest development in a series of controversies over the hotly anticipated hearing. Although Ford had requested that senators question her rather than a lawyer, Senate Republicans defended Mitchell’s hiring as necessary to ensure a fair and respectful hearing.

It will also allow Senate Republicans to avoid the optics of having 11 male Republicans grilling Ford with questions about a sensitive subject.

“We have done it because we want to depoliticize the whole process, like the Democrats politicized the Anita Hill thing,” Grassley said in a statement, referring to Hill’s 1991 testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, whom she accused of sexual harassment.

“I promised Dr. Ford that I would do everything in my power to avoid a repeat of the ‘circus’ atmosphere in the hearing room that we saw the week of September 4,” Grassley added.

‘It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were’


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Women protest Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

(Mark Lennihan/AP)

Mitchell is the perfect candidate for the job, according to those in Arizona’s law-enforcement community who know her. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sang her praises in a statement on Tuesday.

“The American people can be confident that Rachel Mitchell’s experience as a conscientious prosecutor, trained to seek justice, protect victims, and pursue truth will assist the Senate Judiciary Committee in performing its important task,” he said.

A longtime prosecutor who worked her way up to the role of chief of the Special Victims Division of the Maricopa County attorney’s office, Mitchell is highly experienced in prosecuting sexual assault cases. She is currently on leave from her position, according to Grassley’s statement.

Mitchell has prosecuted several high-profile cases throughout her career, including the 2005 conviction of Rev. Paul LeBrun, a former Catholic priest accused of molesting young boys. LeBrun was eventually sentenced to 111 years in prison.

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“She’s one of these career prosecutors who specializes in sex crimes,” Paul Ahler, who formerly worked in the Maricopa County attorney’s office, told The Arizona Republic. “It’s hard to find those people because a lot of people get burned out on those issues, but it’s kind of been her life mission.”

Mitchell is particularly well-known for working with child victims. She has helped develop best practices when interviewing victims, and was once named the “Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year.”

It was in part the helplessness of young victims that drew Mitchell to the specialty. In 2012, she told FrontLine Magazine that she had never intended to specialize in sex-crimes prosecution until she became a law clerk and was paired up with a senior attorney who was prosecuting a youth choir director.

“It was different than anything that I would have ever imagined it being. It intrigued me,” Mitchell said. “It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were. When I became an attorney with the office I prosecuted other kinds of cases, but I was drawn back to this area.”



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DCI probes Nzoia bosses over Sh961k scandal: The Standard

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KenyaAccording to an insider at Nzoia Sugar, the 228 bags were supplied to a trader based in Nairobi, who made the payment to the miller’s account.

Sleuths from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have started probing senior Nzoia Sugar Company managers over the loss of 228 bags of sugar valued at Sh961,400.
At the centre of investigations are managers of a local bank in Nairobi where the payments to the miller’s account were made, but the money could not be traced thereafter. 
According to an insider at Nzoia Sugar, the 228 bags were supplied to a trader based in Nairobi, who made the payment to the miller’s account.
SEE ALSO: Detectives nab two suspects for conning man Sh72,000
Bungoma South DCI boss Yusuf Nzioka (pictured) told The Standard yesterday that they are following crucial leads that will help in the prosecution of the company’s managers, as well as the bank staffers who were involved in the syndicate.
Nzioka said following the supply of the 228 bags, the trader made payments in cash to the bank, which reflected to the firm’s account but could not be traced later.
“We are following up on how the payments were made in cash to Nzoia Sugar, which reflected in its account but could not be traced. We will leave no stone unturned until all the suspects are prosecuted,” said Nzioka.
Nzoia Sugar Managing Director Michael Wanjala, in a press statement dated May 27, confirmed that the sugar could not be accounted for and a probe was underway. 
“Nzoia Sugar Company has lost 228 bags of sugar worth Sh961,400 to a fraudster who presented a fake cash deposit slip to the company on May 14,” said Wanjala.
SEE ALSO: DCI intercept, arrest man linked with sale of fake alcohol brands
“We would like to confirm that the company reported the case to the relevant authorities and investigations are underway.”
He said a complete report of the investigations would be communicated to the public once the investigation is concluded.
Nzoia Sugar resumed operations on February 14 this year after a five-month maintenance break and has paid farmers Sh180 million since it resumed operations.
“We ask farmers to be patient as we are on the right track, since we have paid out Sh180 million to some of them,” said Wanjala.

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Father, son jailed for 20 and 15 years respectively for raping neighbour: The Standard

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Rift ValleyCourt rules prosecution had submitted enough evidence against the two

A man and his son have been handed 20 and 15 years-jail terms respectively for raping a woman in Kuresoi North in 2018.
John Chirchir, 58 and his son Vincent Lang’at, 28 were found guilty of raping the 28-year-old woman from Telowa village.
According to the court, the two jointly violated the woman who was their neighbour against her will on June 27, 2018.
SEE ALSO: COVID-19: Nakuru MCAs risk lives to meet over Sh14,500 allowance
The two were arrested on the same day and produced before court on the following day for plea taking.
While delivering his judgement, Molo Resident Magistrate Emmanuel Soita said the prosecution led by John Limo had submitted enough evidence against the two.
The Magistrate noted that five witnesses were called on testifies against the suspects.
The same court also handed a ten-year jail term to Samuel Kiprono who is accused of defiling a nine-year-old girl at Keringet area in Kuresoi South.

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Sudan says three jailed Bashir aides have virus

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AFP

By AFP
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Sudanese authorities said Wednesday that three former senior aides to ousted president Omar al-Bashir have caught the novel coronavirus in prison.

Former officials Ali Othman Taha, Ahmed Mohamed Haroun and Abdulreheem Mohamed Hussein have been held in Khartoum’s Kober prison since Bashir’s military ouster in April 2019 following mass protests against his rule.

All three are awaiting trial in Sudan for corruption and other offences.

Haroun and Hussein, who held top government positions under Bashir, are wanted by the International Criminal Court over their role in the Darfur conflict.

On Wednesday, Sudan’s public prosecution said the three men had tested positive for Covid-19, which has so far infected 4,146 people and killed 184 in the country.

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Haroun has been in an isolation centre in northern Khartoum since late April, the statement said.

Prison authorities tested the others on May 20 and transferred Hussein to a hospital in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, and Taha to an isolation centre in central Khartoum, according to the statement.

Taha served as vice president under Bashir between 1998-2013, and was previously Sudan’s foreign minister.

Hussein served in several positions including defence and interior minister. He was also assigned governor of Khartoum before Bashir’s ouster.

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Haroun served as minister of state for the interior, minister of state for humanitarian affairs, and governor of the conflict-ridden South Kordofan.

All three were members of Bashir’s now-defunct National Congress Party.

The Hague-based ICC charged Bashir and others — including Haroun and Hussein — with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur conflict which erupted in 2003.

The fighting started when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government, accusing it of political and economic marginalisation of their region.

The United Nations estimates around 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million others displaced in the conflict.

Human rights groups say Khartoum targeted suspected pro-rebel ethnic groups with a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.

In February, Sudan’s transitional authorities, who took power in August, agreed that Bashir and his aides should stand trial before the ICC.

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