Less than a day before the Senate hearing about sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, porn lawyer Michael Avenatti has released a new set of allegations.
His client, Julie Swetnik, claims in a sworn statement that she witnessed Brett Kavanaugh at boozy parties in the early 1980s behaving inappropriately toward women. She also alleges that Kavanaugh, his friend Mark Judge, and other boys, drugged various girls and then "gang" or "train" raped them. She says that she fell victim to one of these gang rapes, but she does not allege that Kavanaugh himself was involved in the assault.
These accusations — the most graphic and dramatic yet — raise some very serious questions. Since we cannot rely on the media to ask the questions, I will lay them out below:
1) If Kavanaugh was a member of a violent rape gang, why didn't that fact turn up during any of the several FBI background investigations he has already been subjected to? And why didn't Swetnik ever contact the FBI or any other law enforcement agency about the criminal behavior of a federal judge?
2) Swetnik says she witnessed Kavanaugh "grabbing," fondling," and "grinding against girls," all "without their consent." Certainly, fondling and grinding are common occurrences at alcohol-fueled high school parties. But she says this was done against the wishes of the girls. How does she know that? If she saw Kavanaugh engaged in intimate physical activity with girls at a party, did she assume that there was no consent, or did she have some solid reason for coming to that conclusion? She never clarifies this point in her testimony.
3) Swetnik makes a point of saying that this kind of behavior happened during Beach Week in Ocean City, Maryland. This is interesting because Kavanaugh, hours before Swetnik's testimony was published, released his 1982 calendars which show that he was at Beach Week. Is it just a coincidence that the calendar was released and then a few hours later these accusations surface which specifically mention something on the calendar?
4) Swetnick says she "became aware" of efforts by Kavanaugh to "spike the punch" at parties in order to drug women. How did she become aware of this? Did she see it? Was she told about it? "Became aware" is an oddly vague way to phrase such a startling accusation.
5) Swetnick alleges that she was "gang raped" at one of these parties. She says Kavanaugh was "present." Did he commit the assault? Was he in the room? Or just in the house? And if he was in the house, how did she know he was in the house? And if he was in the house, did he know about the gang rape? How does she know he knew? What does "present" mean, and, again, why was it phrased so vaguely? If he committed an assault, she would probably say "Kavanaugh assaulted me." If he was in the room and involved in any way, she would probably stipulate that. But "present" seems to leave itself open to many interpretations. Why?
6) Swetnick says she witnessed boys standing in a line by doors waiting to rape women. How does she know that this is why they were waiting in line? I have been to plenty of parties in my day and never once in my life seen a line of men waiting patiently to rape a woman. Yet Swetnick alleges that this was some sort of common occurrence. Is it possible that she misinterpreted what she saw? What is more likely — that Swetnick is misinterpreting or exaggerating, or that gang rape was an utterly commonplace, and even organized, event among high school students in 1980's Maryland?