Facebook Twitter

QUESTIONS LINGER AS HEARINGS END

SHARE QUESTIONS LINGER AS HEARINGS END

The final curtain came down Monday on the Senate investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas without resolving dramatic conflicts after three days of testimony.

Friends and colleagues of Anita Hill and of Thomas Sunday corroborated her allegations of harassmentand defended his reputation as a decent boss and a courteous man when working with women.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held another day and night of extraordinary hearings Sunday on Hill's allegations, hearing from four friends of Hill and four women who worked with Thomas.

The session concluded at 2:02 a.m. EDT Monday after Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the chairman, said Thomas and Hill had declined offers to respond later Monday to any previous testimony, if they wished.

The day also saw release of a polygraph test, taken by Hill, showing she offered "no deception" on four key questions relating to the allegations of harassment while Hill and Thomas worked at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A Senate vote is planned for Tuesday at 4 p.m. MDT.

President Bush, who played golf near Frederick, Md., Sunday, expressed his continued support for his nominee.

The personal exchanges featured testimony from three friends of Hill who said she told them in the early 1980s she complained of sexual advances by Thomas. A fourth reported a similar conversation in 1987.

But four Thomas backers later testified they believe Thomas is innocent, with one saying she thought Hill had a "crush" on Thomas and a second calling Hill's allegations "impossible."

Susan Hoerchner, a friend of Hill's from Yale Law School, said in one telephone conversation in the early 1980s Hill seemed "very depressed" and spoke in a "dull monotone."

"He kept pressing her (for dates) and repeating things like, `I'm your type' and, `You know I'm your kind of man, but you refuse to admit it,' " Hoerchner said Hill had told her.

On the Thomas panel, Phyllis Berry, former special assistant to Thomas, said it was her "impression" Hill "wished to have a greater relationship with the chairman than just a professional one."

Berry said Hill's praise of Thomas, and her desire to have "greater attention" by him and access to his office indicated she "had a crush" on Thomas.

"Because Clarence Thomas did not respond to her heightened interest, her feelings were hurt," said Berry.

J.C. Alvarez, who knew Hill at EEOC, testified she "had a view of herself and her abilities that did not seem based in reality."

Alvarez said Hill "played the role of a meek, innocent, shy Baptist girl who was a victim of this big, bad man," but at EEOC she was "opinionated" and "arrogant."

As the hearing ran into Monday, a Thomas friend who said he knew Hill casually said in 1983 she dropped a "bombshell" on him by telling him he should not "lead women on."

Attorney John Doggett of Austin, Texas, said he took the statement to mean Hill had "bizarre fantasies about sexual interest in her."

Biden chided Doggett, claiming his conclusion was "equally bizarre."

The committee apparently will not hear from Angela Wright, a former co-worker of Thomas' who has said publicly Thomas once made comments about her breast size. Biden placed Wright's affidavit in the record.

Meanwhile, Hill's lawyer, Charles Ogletree, said his client "passed" a polygraph test administered by a veteran operator, who said Hill showed no evidence of deception when answering specific questions about the accusations.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told CNN that the test "is certainly going to weigh heavily on the minds of many senators."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said if Hill was fantasizing, she could pass a lie detector test and still be wrong.

Late in the session, two lawyers testified that at the American Bar Association convention in Atlanta in August, Hill said Thomas "deserved" the Supreme Court nomination.

Hill, 35, spent seven hours Friday giving graphic details about statements involving pornography and sexual prowess she attributed to Thomas.

In two days of impassioned testimony, Thomas, 43, now a federal appeals court judge, adamantly denied every allegation and said Hill was being used by "interest groups" and other liberals who had fabricated her story.

Charles Kothe, former dean of the law school at Oral Roberts University who later worked as a special assistant to Thomas at EEOC, called Thomas a "man of God." He said if Hill's charges are true it would be the "greatest Jekyll and Hyde story in the history of mankind."