Attorney Michael Avenatti is now the focus of another request for a criminal investigation into his actions during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday sent a letter to the Department of Justice and FBI, requesting a second investigation into Avenatti. Avenatti championed claims from women who, he said, had definitive allegations of sexual misconduct concerning Kavanaugh.
The letter brought a fiery response from Avenatti.
“How ignorant is Grassley? He keeps publicly demanding an investigation knowing full well that it will likely never happen – it is all for show. And if it does, he has placed Kavanaugh at risk of being removed from the SCOTUS. This is what happens when you never attend law school,” Avenatti tweeted.
How ignorant is Grassley? He keeps publicly demanding an investigation knowing full well that it will likely never happen – it is all for show. And if it does, he has placed Kavanaugh at risk of being removed from the SCOTUS. This is what happens when you never attend law school.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) October 26, 2018
On Thursday, Grassley requested a criminal investigation of Avenatti and his lead client, Julie Swetnick, over comments they made in sworn statements. Swetnick said in a Sept. 27 statement that she saw Kavanaugh put drugs in the drinks given to young women at parties and that Kavanaugh may have participated in gang rapes she witnessed at the parties. Those claims were never corroborated.
Friday’s letter concerned a second woman, whose name was never released, who submitted a sworn statement on Oct. 2 that backed up Swetnick’s claims.
“ … simply put, the sworn statement Mr. Avenatti provided the Committee on October 2 appears to be an outright fraud,” Grassley said in the letter.
Grassley’s letter noted that an interview the woman conducted with NBC, even before her sworn statement was submitted, contradicted what she submitted under oath.
“According to NBC News, the purported declarant denied – both before and after the sworn statement was released – the key allegations Mr. Avenatti attributed to her. She stated she was clear and consistent ‘from day one’ with Mr. Avenatti that those claims were not true. And she said Mr. Avenatti ‘twisted [her] words.’ When reporters pressed him on these discrepancies, Mr. Avenatti attempted to deceive them in an apparent effort to thwart the truth coming out,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley’s letter said the woman admitted to only “skimming” the document she signed.
“In light of this new information, I am now referring Mr. Avenatti for investigation of additional potential violations of those same laws, stemming from a second declaration he submitted to the Committee that also appears to contain materially false statements,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley noted that action is needed to avoid a recurrence of the unfounded attacks that marked the Kavanaugh confirmation process.
“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 said.
While in Iowa on Friday, Grassley doubled down on that theme.
“To emphasize to anybody that wants to give a sworn statement to Congress that they better not lie. When you take those sworn statements, you don’t just accept the statement. You have to follow up,” Grassley said. “We ought to have an ethic (that) you don’t lie to Congress. We’ve got a law against it.”
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