Senate Judiciary Refers Avenatti, Julie Swetnick to DOJ for Possible Criminal Charges

Michael Avenatti / Getty Images
October 25, 2018

The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Brett Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick and her attorney Michael Avenatti to the Department of Justice Wednesday to request an investigation for potential criminal charges.

In a sworn statement to the committee, Swetnick claimed that she "witnessed efforts by ... Brett Kavanaugh and others to cause girls to become inebriated so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys. I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room. These boys included ... Brett Kavanaugh."

But Swetnick contradicted that statement in an October interview with NBC News, admitting she wasn't sure if Kavanaugh ever spiked punch. She also admitted she "didn't know what was occurring" in the rooms she saw boys outside of, and that they were not "lined up."

When asked about the contradiction on CNN, Avenatti replied, "One of her friends informed her of what she just put in the declaration or what was attested to in the declaration," even though the sworn statement claimed Swetnick had "personal knowledge" of the information she provided.

It's a felony to provide false information to Congress. In the 12-page referral, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) argued that, "In light of Ms. Swetnick’s and Mr. Avenatti’s own statements to the media, information obtained from Committee interviews of her associates, and publicly reported information about her and Mr. Avenatti, it has become apparent that the statements Mr. Avenatti and Ms. Swetnick submitted to the Committee likely contained materially false claims."

"When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously. It takes courage to come forward, especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal trauma. I’m grateful for those who find that courage," Grassley said in a statement defending the move.

"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. It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons."

"For the law to work, we can’t just brush aside potential violations. I don’t take lightly making a referral of this nature, but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future," he concluded.