Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley referred lawyer Michael Avenatti and Julie Swetnick to the Justice Department for criminal investigation for providing false statements, obstructing congressional investigations, and conspiracy to violate federal law over allegations they made against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Swetnick came forward with accusations after two other women came forward and made unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault against Kavanaugh during his confirmation process. Swetnick's claims were by far the most salacious as she accused Kavanaugh of criminally masterminding gang rape rings that ran trains on girls at parties while he was a young teenager in high school.
"While the Committee was in the middle of its extensive investigation of the late-breaking sexual-assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Avenatti publicized his client’s allegations of drug- and alcohol-fueled gang rapes in the 1980s," the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement. "The obvious, subsequent contradictions along with the suspicious timing of the allegations necessitate a criminal investigation by the Justice Department."
"When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee’s work, I take it seriously," Grassley said. "It takes courage to come forward, especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal trauma. I’m grateful for those who find that courage."
"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," Grassley continued. "It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons. Thankfully, the law prohibits such false statements to Congress and obstruction of congressional committee investigations. 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."