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GOP bringing in Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell for Thursday’s hearing

Brett Kavanaugh answers questions during a FOX News interview, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Washington, about allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PHOENIX — The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday that it has hired Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to handle questioning at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing Thursday.

The news release describes Mitchell as “a career prosecutor with decades of experience prosecuting sex crimes.”

A spokeswoman from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said in a statement that Mitchell is the sex crimes bureau chief for the office. Her responsibilities as bureau chief include supervising prosecutors who handle cases that involve sexual abuse of adults and children.

“(Mitchell) is professional, fair, objective, and has a caring heart for victims,” the statement said. “She has been instrumental in developing protocols for the investigation of child abuse and sexual assault cases enhancing the ability for victims to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect while holding offenders accountable.”

According to the Washington Post, Mitchell is a registered Republican and she has worked at the county attorney’s office for 26 years.

“By choosing a highly experienced prosecutor such as Rachel Mitchell from one of the country’s largest prosecuting agencies right here in Maricopa County, the committee has shown it is taking Thursday’s hearing and the accusations seriously,” legal analyst Monica Lindstrom told KTAR News 92.3 FM Tuesday.

Republicans have been trying to hire outside counsel for the hearing with Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexual assault when they were teens in high school. They said they want to avoid an overtly political process. But the panel’s all-male lineup on the GOP side also prefers to have a woman questioning Ford.

“My gut is they’re trying to avoid a panel of all white guys asking tone-deaf questions,” said Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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