The Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee today called on the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate Michael Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, over what he called their “false statements” about Brett Kavanaugh.
In a letter sent Thursday, Grassley wrote, “I am writing to refer Mr. Michael Avenatti and Ms. Julie Swetnick for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C 371, 1000, and 1505 for materially false statements they made to the committee during the course of the Committee’s investigation.”
Avenatti Said That Grassley Has Made a ‘Major Mistake’
Avenatti has not addressed the particulars of the letter from Grassley. But in an email to Heavy, the lawyer said, “Senator Grassley has just made a major mistake. Let the investigation into Kavanaugh and his lies begin.”
Grassley says that Swetnick and Avenatti both contradicted their own testimony during the course of the Committee’s investigation of Kavanaugh. He also says that his Committee had to use “significant resources” to investigate the claims made by Avenatti and Swetnick,” with Committee staffers working late nights and weekends to look into those claims. Now, Grassley says, he wants a full investigation. Grassley says that, by his count, Avenatti and Swetnick may have committed “three separate crimes” during the course of his Committee’s investigation, including “a possible conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation…in the course of considering Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Grassley Charges That Swetnick Repeatedly Contradicted Her Testimony About Kavanaugh
Swetnick initially signed a sworn statement saying that in 1980 and 1981 Brett Kavanaugh had given women spiked punch at parties, in order to make them helpless prey so that he and other boys could gang-rape them. In her September 26 statement, Swetnick declared, “During the years 1981-82, I became aware of efforts by Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh and others to ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with drugs and/or grain alcohol so as to cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say ‘No.’” She said that once the girls’ inhibitions were lowered, boys at these house parties would “line up” to take turns raping the inebriated girls. Swetnick says that Brett Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, were among the boys lining up for a turn.
But — Grassley’s letter points out — Swetnick later walked back her most shocking claims. In an October 1 interview on NBC, said that she could not say for certain whether Kavanaugh had actually spiked the punch at parties. She said that she had seen him handing red cups to girls but added, “I don’t know what he did” as to spiking the punch. Swetnick also prevaricated a bit about whether she had actually seen lines of boys waiChurck ting outside of bedrooms to rape girls. She said instead that the boys were “huddled by doors” and that there was a lot of laughing.
Grassley Said He Doubts that Swetnick Ever Even Met Kavanaugh
Both Swetnick and Kavanaugh lived in Montgomery County, Maryland in the 1980s. But apart from that, Grassley says, there doesn’t seem to be anything to connect the two. Grassley writes, “there is simply no credible evidence that Ms. Swetnick ever even met or socialized with Judge Kavanaugh. On the contrary, there is substantial evidence they did not know each other.”
Grassley’s letter to the FBI and the DoJ also casts doubt on Avenatti’s general credibility and charges that Avenatti has “substantial credibility issues of his own.” You can read the full letter here.