Sept. 20 (UPI) -- A lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday said her client would be willing to testify next week about her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but not Monday as the Senate judicial committee planned.
The committee gave Ford until 10 a.m. Friday to decide whether she would speak to senators about the assault she said happened in the early 1980s when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers attending a party. Lawmakers scheduled a hearing for Monday, delaying a vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation originally scheduled for Thursday.
Ford's attorney, Debra Katz, sent a letter to Senate judiciary committee staffers saying it was "not possible" for Ford to attend the Monday hearing, but she could attend later in the week.
"As you are aware, she's been receiving death threats which have been reported to the FBI and she and her family have been forced out of their home," Katz said in a letter to the committee. "She wishes to testify, provided that we can agree on terms that are fair and which ensure her safety. A hearing on Monday is not possible and the committee's insistence that it occur then is arbitrary in any event."
Earlier this week Ford said she wished for the FBI to investigate her allegations before she offers testimony. Katz reiterated that desire in her letter.
Before receiving Katz's letter, Republican senators said they wouldn't wait for the FBI. If she doesn't appear Monday, Senate judiciary committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the Senate will go ahead with Kavanaugh's confirmation vote.
"You have stated repeatedly that Dr. Ford wants to tell her story," Grassley wrote. "I sincerely hope that Dr. Ford will accept my invitation to do so, either privately or publicly, on Monday."
Other Republicans echoed the sense of urgency.
"She said she wanted to appear but if she changes her mind and refuses to appear, there's not much we can do," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said. "We can't force her to do that. And so nothing really else would remain of the investigation and background of the judge and we would vote on the nomination."
Ford's attorneys issued a statement saying there are multiple witnesses that need to be interviewed, not just Ford and Kavanaugh.
Grassley didn't offer an immediate response to Katz's letter.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, urged Ford to testify as scheduled on Monday.
"Otherwise, there are these very serious allegations hanging over the head of a nominee who has emphatically denied them and that's just not a good way for us to end," Collins said.
This isn't the first time allegations have come up during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
Twenty-seven years ago, legal staffer Anita Hill accused then-nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment concerning sex and adult videos while she worked in his office. The Senate judiciary committee hearings that featured her testimony made headlines for days.
Thomas was ultimately confirmed and is now the longest-serving justice. Hill, now a gender studies professor at Brandeis University, said she supports Ford's push for an FBI investigation.
"I know what their staffs' qualifications are," Hill told PBS Newshour, referring to the judiciary committee. "But I doubt they are qualified to carry out this investigation in a neutral fashion.
"I think it's ironic that we have senators who are deciding about who is going to sit on the highest court, but they can't really put partisanship aside long enough to put together a fair hearing to get to the truth about this situation."