NBC News withheld exculpatory evidence during the height of the confirmation battle surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month, which would have cast serious doubt concerning allegations of sexual misconduct made about the nominee.
In the sworn statement, Julie Swetnick said Kavanaugh had been present during high school parties where gang rapes occurred and had “spiked” punch at the parties in order to make women more susceptible to sexual advances.
On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley referred Swetnick and her attorney Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department for criminal investigation relating to a “potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress.”
A news release from the Judiciary Committee pointed to an interview Swetnick gave to NBC on Oct. 1, during which she “specifically and explicitly back-tracked or contradicted key parts of her sworn statement on these and other allegations.”
“In subsequent interviews, Avenatti likewise cast serious doubt on or contradicted the allegations while insisting that he had thoroughly vetted his client,” the release states.
Following Grassley’s announcement of the criminal referral, NBC published a story on Thursday noting that not only had the network not been able to corroborate Swetnick’s initial claims, but it “found other apparent inconsistencies in a second sworn statement from another woman whose statement Avenatti provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bid to bolster Swetnick’s claims.”
The second sworn statement indicated a woman, whose name Avenatti did not make public, said she witnessed Kavanaugh spike punch at high school parties. The attorney released the statement on Twitter.
It read, in part, “During the years 1981-82, I witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol. I understood this was being done for the purpose of making girls more likely to engage in sexual acts and less likely to say ‘No.'”
It further stated that the woman saw Kavanaugh act “overly aggressive and verbally abusive to girls. This conduct included inappropriate physical contact with girls of a sexual nature.”
When NBC contacted the woman in question by phone on Sept. 30 ahead of the network’s interview with Swetnick, she contradicted her sworn statement released by Avenatti.
“I didn’t ever think it was Brett,” she told NBC. The woman further explained that she had never met Swetnick in high school, and never saw her at high school parties. The two women had, in fact, become friends when they were in their 30s.
NBC asked the woman if she ever saw Kavanaugh act inappropriately toward women, and she said, “No.”
NBC reached out again on Oct. 4, and the woman texted the network, “It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn’t see anyone spike the punch…I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one.”
When pressed about seeing abusive behavior toward girls, she wrote in another text: “I would not ever allow anyone to be abusive in my presence. Male or female.”
NBC then contacted Avenatti, asking him to address the discrepancies, and he responded saying he was “disgusted” with the network.
“I just confirmed with her yet again that everything in the declaration is true and correct,” Avenatti later told NBC. “She must have been confused by your question.”
In a text on Oct. 5, the woman wrote to NBC, “I will definitely talk to you again and no longer Avenatti. I do not like that he twisted my words.”
Daily Wire editor Ashe Schow wondered why, facetiously, if NBC had all this information before the Kavanaugh confirmation vote why it was not made public.
NBC had all this but didn’t report it at the time, before Kavanaugh’s was confirmed.
I wonder why. https://t.co/8OFAoyTY0e
— Ashe Schow (@AsheSchow) October 26, 2018
The Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh on Oct. 6 in a narrow 50 to 48 vote, which fell mostly along party lines.
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