Chuck Ross, DCNF
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman is asking the Department of Justice and FBI to open a second investigation into whether attorney Michael Avenatti made false statements to Congress about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The referral, submitted Friday, follows one that Grassley issued Thursday against Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick. The Iowa Republican claimed that Avenatti and Swetnick made inconsistent claims in a sworn declaration accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.
Swetnick, who submitted the declaration under oath on Sept. 27, said that she saw Kavanaugh drugging girls’ drinks at parties in the early 1980s when he was in high school. She also claimed that gang rapes occurred at the parties and that Kavanaugh may have participated.
In Friday’s referral, Grassley cited a report from NBC News on Thursday that raised questions about a second declaration submitted on Oct. 2 through Avenatti from a woman who purported to back Swetnick’s claims about Kavanaugh.
But Grassley says that, “simply put, the sworn statement Mr. Avenatti provided the Committee on October 2 appears to be an outright fraud.”
“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 to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
According to NBC, the purported witness disputed claims made in the declaration both before and after Avenatti submitted the document.
In the declaration, she claimed to have seen Kavanaugh at parties mistreating girls and drugging their drinks.
But in an interview with NBC News on Sept. 30, a day before Swetnick was interviewed, the woman disputed both claims. She said that she never witnessed Kavanaugh spiking drinks or acting aggressively towards women.
Avenatti emailed committee staff on Oct. 2 with an affidavit he said was “from another witness who supports a number of allegations of Ms. Swetnick.”
“She knows both Ms. Swetnick and Dr. Ford. The identify [sic] of this witness will be released to the FBI once they contact me to arrange an interview as she does not want her name publicly disclosed at this time,” Avenatti wrote.
After Avenatti submitted the declaration, the woman told NBC News that the attorney had “twisted [her] words.”
She also told NBC that “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.”
It is unclear why the woman signed the declaration, though she told NBC News that she only scanned the document before signing it. It is also unclear why NBC sat on the information for more than three weeks.
Avenatti, who is considering a 2020 presidential bid, called Grassley’s latest referral “complete garbage.”
“We want the investigation started this weekend so we can show how full of crap Grassley is ASAP. He knows nothing about the law, which is not surprising seeing as he never attended law school,” Avenatti told The Daily Caller News Foundation.