WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans are bringing in Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to handle questioning about allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

A news release from committee chairman Chuck Grassley's office describes Mitchell as "a career prosecutor with decades of experience prosecuting sex crimes."

Mitchell worked in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix as the chief of the Special Victims Division, which covers sex crimes and family violence.

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. They say 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.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a release, “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.”