Lawyer Michael Avenatti and his client, Julie Swetnick, are facing an investigation from the Justice Department for allegedly trying to mislead the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley officially brought the case to the Justice Department on Thursday, citing an October interview with NBC News in which Swetnick contradicted aspects of her sworn statement — including allegations that she saw Kavanaugh “cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of boys.”
“When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously … But in the heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the committee. That’s unfair to my colleagues, the nominees and others providing information who are seeking the truth,” said Grassley in a statement.
In a statement to NBC News, Avenatti denied any wrongdoing.
“Senator Grassley has just made a major mistake,” said Avenatti. “Let the investigation into Kavanaugh and his lies begin.”
NBC News had also identified inconsistencies in the testimony of a second anonymous woman, who in a declaration given by Avenatti to the Senate Judiciary Committee alleged that she had “witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol.“
In phone interviews scheduled independently from Avenatti in early October, the woman acknowledged that she had only “skimmed” the declaration and that after reviewing it she wanted to be clear that she never saw “anyone spike the punch.”
When Avenatti was asked about the woman’s contradicting statement, he told NBC News that he was “disgusted” with their reporting and that he had “confirmed with her yet again that everything in the declaration is true and correct.”
Five minutes after speaking with Avenatti, NBC reporters received a text from the woman re-affirming that “everything in the declaration is true.” But in a phone call just minutes later, the woman said once more that she hadn’t seen Kavanaugh spike punch or abuse women, adding in a subsequent text that she planned to stop talking to Avenatti because “I do not like that he twisted my words.”
Read the full story at NBC News.