WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is referring attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick to the Justice Department for criminal investigation related to their accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process.
Swetnick was among the women who came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Specifically, she said she observed Kavanaugh and his friends drinking to excess at parties in high school and lining up outside bedrooms to gang rape females.
Grassley sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the FBI Director Christopher Wray asking they investigate Avenatti and Swetnick for three potential criminal violations: conspiracy, false statements and obstruction of Congress.
In the 12-page letter, Grassley outlines the allegations Avenatti and Swetnick made and times in which there were contradictions in their story that led him to question the truth of their statements. He included 17 pages worth of attachments to back up his concerns.
Grassley said in a statement that he appreciates when “well-meaning” citizens come forward with information relevant to the committee’s work and takes allegations of sexual misconduct seriously.
“But in the heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the committee,” he said. “That’s unfair to my colleagues, the nominees and others providing information who are seeking the truth. It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons.”
Grassley said that he doesn’t make a referral of this nature lightly but he can’t brush aside potential violations of the law.
“Ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future,” he said.
Avenatti said in a tweet that he welcomes the investigation because it can shed light on “Kavanaugh’s lies and conduct.”
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