Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti has been referred for possible additional violations regarding his representation of clients who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
The additional complaint, from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), includes information about a second client Avenatti represented, whose name is unknown. This woman backed up Julie Swetnick’s claims that Kavanaugh spiked punch at parties to get women drunk so they could rape them.
On Thursday, Grassley referred Avenatti and his client, Swetnick, to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, alleging they provided false statements, obstructed a congressional investigation, and conspired to violate federal law with their allegations against Kavanaugh. On Friday, Grassley provided additional information supporting the charges against Avenatti, based on a report from NBC that his second client — the unnamed woman — told the news outlet that the celebrity attorney “twisted” her words.
“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.
Shortly after Grassley sent his first referral, NBC reported that Avenatti’s second client told them on multiple occasions that what was written in her sworn statement was not accurate, and that she never saw Kavanaugh spike the punch and that she didn’t know Swetnick until well after high school. She also said she never saw Kavanaugh act inappropriately toward women.
Avenatti told NBC, according to NBC, that he had recordings of the woman making the claims included in the sworn statement. Shortly after this conversation, the woman texted NBC to affirm what the affidavit said.
NBC called the woman yet again, and she again disputed what was said in the sworn statement.
“Simply put, the sworn statement Mr. Avenatti provided the Committee on October 2 appears to be an outright fraud,” Grassley wrote. “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.”
Grassley added that when Avenatti was questioned about the discrepancies between the sworn statement and what the woman told NBC, “Mr. Avenatti attempted to deceive them in an apparent effort to thwart the truth coming out.”
“Accordingly, in light of the seriousness of these facts, and the threat these types of actions pose to the Committee’s ability to perform its constitutional duties, I hope you will give this referral, as well as my prior one related to Mr. Avenatti, the utmost consideration,” Grassley concluded. “Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.”
Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI have responded to Grassley’s letter.
In a tweet sent Friday evening after Grassley’s letter became public, Avenatti responded, asking: “How ignorant is Grassley?”
“He keeps publicly demanding an investigation knowing full well that it will likely never happen - it is all for show,” Avenatti wrote. “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,” he added.